Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Massachusetts

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Food insecurity is a widespread problem in the United States, with people experiencing food insecurity in every single county in the nation. The nonprofit Feeding America describes food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.”

Food insecurity hits children particularly hard. The USDA estimates that more than 5.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic put further strain on households already experiencing food hardship, with Feeding America estimating that 13 million children may experience food insecurity in 2021—that’s one in six children. Not having consistent access to enough food can affect cognitive abilities, overall health, moods, and attention spans—not to mention the psychological effects of living with scarcity.

Stacker compiled a list of counties in Massachusetts with the highest rate of food insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by highest percent of children with food insecurity as of 2019.

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#14. Norfolk County

– Child food insecurity rate: 4.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 6,810
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 73.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 27.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 5.9%

#13. Middlesex County

– Child food insecurity rate: 4.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 15,580
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 90.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 10.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 6.4%

#12. Hampshire County

– Child food insecurity rate: 7.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,850
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 79.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 21.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 8.0%

#11. Plymouth County

– Child food insecurity rate: 7.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 8,640
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 66.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 34.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 6.1%

#10. Dukes County

– Child food insecurity rate: 8.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 260
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 89.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 11.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.4%

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#9. Essex County

– Child food insecurity rate: 8.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 14,150
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 91.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 9.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.6%

#8. Worcester County

– Child food insecurity rate: 8.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 15,380
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 77.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 23.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 8.2%

#7. Nantucket County

– Child food insecurity rate: 9.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 220
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 72.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 28.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.4%

#6. Barnstable County

– Child food insecurity rate: 9.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 3,110
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 79.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 21.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.1%

#5. Franklin County

– Child food insecurity rate: 10.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,260
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 80.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 20.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.1%

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#4. Bristol County

– Child food insecurity rate: 12.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 14,060
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 79.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 22.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.8%

#3. Berkshire County

– Child food insecurity rate: 12.3%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,660
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 71.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 29.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.8%

#2. Suffolk County

– Child food insecurity rate: 14.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 19,000
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 68.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 32.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 10.6%

#1. Hampden County

– Child food insecurity rate: 15.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 15,410
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 84.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 16.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 10.9%



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