The map was updated on August 17th, 2020 to address an underlying discrepancy in the estimated number and percentage of children living in food-insecure households with incomes below and above 185% of the federal poverty level as of 2018. While this update does affect all counties, congressional districts and states, it does not affect the total number or percentage of children in food-insecure households, nor does it affect any of the estimates for the overall population.
Program eligibility is determined by income
The income bands shown reflect percentages of the federally established poverty line, which varies based on household size. These percentages are used to set eligibility thresholds for nutrition programs.
How is food insecurity related to poverty?
Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. According to the USDA, 32% of food-insecure households live above 185% of the poverty line. Note below, however, that 185% of the poverty level is only $48,470 for a family of four. For families with medical expenses or who are located in areas with a high cost-of-living, it’s easy to see how quickly resources can get drained. We know also from Hunger In America 2014 that 16% of households served by the Feeding America network are estimated to be food secure. This may be because they are able to access charitable food resources or participate in federal nutrition programs at times when their own resources are scarce.
What does it mean to live in poverty?
Poverty rates are provided as supplemental information to the food-insecurity rates. Poverty rates are determined by the number of members in a household and their annual income.
These rates do not vary from state to state (except in AK and HI), despite significant differences in cost-of-living.
SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 85, No. 12, January 17, 2020, pp. 3060-3061
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services