Louisiana ranks second in the nation in a new listing of America’s hungriest states, according to a report released this month by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Entitled How Hungry is America?, the FRAC report documents food insecurity trends across local, state, regional and national levels, finding that hunger and food hardship remain significant challenges for low-income Americans.
FRAC’s report finds that two Louisiana cities ranked among the worst food insecure cities in the country, with more than 1-in-5 households in the New Orleans-Metairie (#5) and Baton Rouge (#8) areas struggling to afford food.
How Hungry is America? highlights the challenges faced by low-income households in Louisiana and across the country as the national food hardship rate climbed from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017 following four consecutive years of decline. The report also found that households with children are particularly vulnerable to higher rates of food hardship and hunger. At 24.1%, Louisiana’s food hardship rate ranks as the second-highest in the country for families with children.
A multi-pronged approach to addressing hunger in communities is needed, including strengthening federal safety net programs such as SNAP, the state and nation’s most robust tool in the fight against hunger. As the final 2018 Farm Bill is negotiated in Congress, critical safety net programs such as SNAP and TEFAP must be protected and strengthened to provide adequate access to nutritious foods for low-income Louisianans.