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University of Missouri

Hunger Aplenty

Missouri’s food insecure population doubled since 2001.

The Missouri Hunger Atlas, now in its third edition, has painted an increasingly grim picture of food insecurity in the Show-Me State. The percentage of Missouri’s population that is food insecure has roughly doubled from 8.6 percent in 1999–2001 to 16 percent in 2009–11. The figures come from MU’s Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security, which prepared the report.

“No other state has seen its percentage increase by more than seven points over this time,” says Sandy Rikoon, professor of rural sociology and the center’s director.

The 2013 atlas shows that Missouri’s south-central and southeastern counties have the highest need, followed by southwestern and north-central counties, as well as in the city of St. Louis.

“One alarming dimension of this trend is that not only are more Missourians concerned about having sufficient food, but also a higher percentage of these folks are unable to satisfy household needs through existing public and private sector programs,” Rikoon says.