The annual Map the Meal Gap results show that food insecurity continues to remain high in Vermont. According to the newly released data, 83,630 people in the area are food insecure, which includes 24,530 children.

While Vermont falls below the national food-insecurity rate of 15.9 percent, when it comes to child food –insecurity, the rates are nearly the same—about 20 percent.

Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.

“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 allow the Vermont Foodbank to continue to evaluate and adjust to the need in our area,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us define the social issues plaguing our area and work together as a community to find a solution.”

Key local findings:

  • Essex County was found to have the highest rates of child food insecurity in Vermont at a rate of 22 percent. Caledonia County had the highest rate of overall food insecurity in Vermont at a rate of 13.8 percent.
  • Sixty-three percent of food-insecure children are likely income eligible for federal nutrition assistance, while 37 percent are not.
  • The annual food budget shortfall in Vermont, meaning the amount of additional money that food-insecure individuals in Vermont said they would need to put enough food on the table for an adequate diet, is $14.6 million.

Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.

“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”

The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.

A summary of the findings and the full report are available at

Hover over or click the map below for state by state information: