New research shows food insecurity highest in the South
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A new report released Monday by "Feeding America" breaks down food insecurity levels, which are highest in the Southeast.
The "Map the Meal Gap" report highlights county-by-county data about hunger and food insecurity.
About 50 million people are food insecure in America by having limited or no access to nutritional and safe foods. About 17 million of those are children.
The national average of food insecurity is 16.4 percent. Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia are all worse than the national average. Alabama and Georgia have rates of about 20 percent food insecurity. Tennessee is slightly below at 17.6 percent.
The national average of food insecure children in 22.4 percent. The rates in Tennessee and Georgia are both more than the average. In the Volunteer State, about one in every four kids are food insecure. The Hamilton County average is slightly less with about one in every five kids. Georgia is also higher than the national average with 28.8 percent.
The Chattanooga Area Food Bank says the majority of its clients are part of the working poor and don't make enough money to pay bills and buy food.
The report says the main causes of food insecurity include poverty, unemployment and poor home ownership rates.