Rates of food insecurity, the statistical measurement of hunger or near hunger, among rural households is generally lower than urban households, but slightly higher than the national average. The irony is that many of these food-insecure households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Challenges facing rural areas differ from metro/urban areas in several significant ways: (I)
- Employment is more concentrated in low-wage industries. (II)
- Unemployment and underemployment are greater.
- Education levels are lower.
- Work-support services, such as flexible and affordable childcare and public transportation, are less available.
- The rural marketplace offers less access to communication and transportation networks.
- Offers companies less access to activities that foster administration, research and development.
- The fact that so many people need to turn to a food bank or church pantry just to eat in the very same communities where the food is raised is a sad reminder of how much more needs to be done.
- 14.7% of rural households are food insecure, an estimated 3 million households. (III)
- Compared to all regions, the South continues to have the highest poverty rate (under 100 percent of poverty) among people in families with related children under 18 living in rural areas (24.5 percent) and living in cities and suburbs. (19.7 percent) (III)
- Among all people in female-headed families with related children under 18 years, 50.7 percent were poor in rural areas compared to 35 percent in suburbs. (IV)