PEMBROKE PARK, FL – May 1, 2019 – Feeding South Florida announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2019, the latest report by Feeding America® on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. Map the Meal Gap 2019 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in the Feeding South Florida’s service area. Overall food insecurity ranges from a low of 9.5 percent of the population in Miami-Dade County up to 13.6 percent in Broward County. The average food insecurity rate throughout the country is 12.5 percent and 11.6 percent across South Florida.
The study also finds that people currently facing hunger are likely falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs. Food-insecure individuals now face, on average, a food budget shortfall of $19.32 per person each week, up from $19.08 last year. The average cost of a meal throughout South Florida increased from $3.39.
“It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families while our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed,” said Paco Vélez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida.
Feeding South Florida is one of 206 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger. Locally, Feeding South Florida rescues and distributes 50 million pounds of food (42 million meals) each year through direct-service programs and a network of more than 400 nonprofit partner agencies throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Feeding South Florida is the largest and most efficient provide of emergency food assistance in each county it serves. For every $1 donated to Feeding South Florida, they can provide 6 meals.
Map the Meal Gap uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by founding sponsor The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.
Key findings for overall South Florida include:
- 11.6% of the South Florida population is food insecure, with 706,430 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal.
- 83% of the food insecure population in South Florida qualify based on income for SNAP (Foods Stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 17% do NOT qualify for federal nutrition programs and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
- $3.43 is the average cost of a meal in South
- The food budget shortfall per person per week is $19.32, with a total shortfall of $413,923,000, or 120,552,400 meals.
- 18.9% of children in South Florida are food insecure, leaving 236,270 children going to bed hungry.
A detailed report with county data can be found here.
A summary of the national findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.