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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 Maryland with the highest rate of food-insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by the highest percentage of children with food insecurity as of 2019.

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#24. Howard County

– Child food insecurity rate: 8.4%
— Number of food-insecure children: 6,560
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 54.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 46.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.7%

TownCreative // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Montgomery County

– Child food insecurity rate: 9.5%
— Number of food-insecure children: 23,070
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 76.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 24.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 8.6%

Preservation Maryland // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Calvert County

– Child food insecurity rate: 9.7%
— Number of food-insecure children: 2,070
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 56.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 44.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 8.2%

Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Carroll County

– Child food insecurity rate: 10.0%
— Number of food-insecure children: 3,650
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 50.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 50.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.6%

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Queen Anne’s County

– Child food insecurity rate: 10.3%
— Number of food-insecure children: 1,110
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 53.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 47.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.4%

Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Frederick County

– Child food insecurity rate: 10.7%
— Number of food-insecure children: 6,310
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 59.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 41.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.7%

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#18. Anne Arundel County

– Child food insecurity rate: 10.9%
— Number of food-insecure children: 13,950
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 56.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 44.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.0%

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Harford County

– Child food insecurity rate: 12.3%
— Number of food-insecure children: 6,980
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 61.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 39.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 9.8%

Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#16. St. Mary’s County

– Child food insecurity rate: 13.2%
— Number of food-insecure children: 3,600
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 58.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 42.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 10.8%

Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Charles County

– Child food insecurity rate: 13.2%
— Number of food-insecure children: 5,060
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 44.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 56.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 6.9%

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#14. Talbot County

– Child food insecurity rate: 14.3%
— Number of food-insecure children: 980
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 61.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 39.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 11.8%

MamaGeek // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Prince George’s County

– Child food insecurity rate: 14.5%
— Number of food-insecure children: 29,360
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 52.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 48.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 7.3%

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Baltimore County

– Child food insecurity rate: 14.7%
— Number of food-insecure children: 26,320
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 60.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 40.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 10.7%

Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Cecil County

– Child food insecurity rate: 15.3%
— Number of food-insecure children: 3,580
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 12.4%

Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Garrett County

– Child food insecurity rate: 16.6%
— Number of food-insecure children: 910
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 100.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 0.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 13.9%

Delta1989 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Kent County

– Child food insecurity rate: 17.3%
— Number of food-insecure children: 530
– 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: 12.9%

Vpuliva // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Washington County

– Child food insecurity rate: 17.7%
— Number of food-insecure children: 5,830
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 81.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 19.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 14.1%

Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Caroline County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.2%
— Number of food-insecure children: 1,430
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 96.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 4.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 13.3%

Eric Fischer // Wikicommons

#6. Wicomico County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.5%
— Number of food-insecure children: 4,380
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 82.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 18.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 13.6%

Linda Roy Walls // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Worcester County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.8%
— Number of food-insecure children: 1,770
– 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: 13.9%

Eli Pousson // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Dorchester County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.6%
— Number of food-insecure children: 1,540
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 14.7%

#3. Allegany County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,850
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 88.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 12.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.9%

Famartin // Wikicommons

#2. Baltimore city

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.4%
— Number of food-insecure children: 33,160
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 57.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 43.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.8%

jerryinocmd // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Somerset County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.4%
— Number of food-insecure children: 1,220
– 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: 16.1%


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