Several ENC counties among highest for food insecurity in North Carolina

Hunger Action Month

Every county in the United States is home to people experiencing food insecurity, defined by the nonprofit Feeding America as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.”

The USDA estimates that 89.5% of U.S. households were food secure throughout 2019—that’s 116.0 million people. The COVID-19 pandemic put further strain on households already experiencing food hardship, with Feeding America estimating that 42 million people, or 1 in 8 Americans, may experience food insecurity in 2021. This is a slight improvement from 2020 numbers but still represents an enormous burden for millions of children and adults.

Stacker compiled a list of counties in North Carolina with the highest rate of food insecurity using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by highest percent of population with food insecurity as of 2019.

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#50. Craven County

– Food insecurity rate: 14.9% (15,220 total)
— 36.7% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 21.2% (4,720 total)
— 45.2% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $8,155,000
— Cost per meal: $3.13

2 / 50NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Caswell County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.0% (3,390 total)
— 37.6% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 24.3% (1,040 total)
— 66.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,672,000
— Cost per meal: $2.88

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#48. Sampson County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.1% (9,580 total)
— 38.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.3% (3,470 total)
— 52.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,642,000
— Cost per meal: $2.83

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#47. Watauga County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.2% (8,340 total)
— 39.4% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 16.1% (1,150 total)
— 10.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,410,000
— Cost per meal: $3.79

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#46. Rockingham County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.3% (13,980 total)
— 40.4% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 21.3% (3,980 total)
— 45.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $6,990,000
— Cost per meal: $2.92

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#45. Clay County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (1,680 total)
— 41.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 20.6% (390 total)
— 41.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $868,000
— Cost per meal: $3.02

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#44. Ashe County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (4,140 total)
— 41.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.4% (940 total)
— 32.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,065,000
— Cost per meal: $2.92

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#43. Wayne County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (19,010 total)
— 41.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 23.7% (6,980 total)
— 62.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $9,250,000
— Cost per meal: $2.85

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#42. Pitt County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (27,480 total)
— 41.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 21.9% (8,430 total)
— 50.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $14,130,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#41. Onslow County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (30,030 total)
— 41.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.5% (9,300 total)
— 33.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $15,272,000
— Cost per meal: $2.97

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#40. Northampton County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (3,080 total)
— 42.2% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.8% (1,060 total)
— 104.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,536,000
— Cost per meal: $2.92

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#39. Madison County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (3,340 total)
— 42.2% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 17.3% (680 total)
— 18.5% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,876,000
— Cost per meal: $3.29

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#38. Mitchell County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (2,340 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.2% (540 total)
— 31.5% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,276,000
— Cost per meal: $3.19

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#37. Martin County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (3,570 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 25.9% (1,220 total)
— 77.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,719,000
— Cost per meal: $2.82

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#36. Beaufort County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (7,350 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 23.5% (2,250 total)
— 61.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,891,000
— Cost per meal: $3.10

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#35. Hoke County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (8,420 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.6% (3,370 total)
— 54.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,247,000
— Cost per meal: $2.95

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#34. Duplin County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (9,180 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 23.5% (3,360 total)
— 61.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,481,000
— Cost per meal: $2.86

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#33. Caldwell County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (12,800 total)
— 43.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.4% (3,230 total)
— 32.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $6,042,000
— Cost per meal: $2.76

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#32. Bertie County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (3,040 total)
— 44.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 30.8% (1,040 total)
— 111.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,536,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#31. Hertford County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (3,760 total)
— 44.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 28.3% (1,290 total)
— 93.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,813,000
— Cost per meal: $2.82

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#30. Macon County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (5,450 total)
— 44.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 20.2% (1,290 total)
— 38.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,783,000
— Cost per meal: $2.99

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#29. Jackson County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (6,800 total)
— 45.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.7% (1,420 total)
— 34.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,665,000
— Cost per meal: $3.15

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#28. Surry County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.9% (11,460 total)
— 45.9% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 20.1% (3,090 total)
— 37.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,535,000
— Cost per meal: $2.83

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#27. Wilson County

– Food insecurity rate: 15.9% (12,980 total)
— 45.9% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 25.5% (4,800 total)
— 74.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $6,155,000
— Cost per meal: $2.77

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#26. Avery County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.0% (2,800 total)
— 46.8% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 19.5% (500 total)
— 33.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,481,000
— Cost per meal: $3.09

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#25. Cumberland County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.0% (53,180 total)
— 46.8% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 23.6% (19,460 total)
— 61.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $27,302,000
— Cost per meal: $3.00

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#24. Greene County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.1% (3,380 total)
— 47.7% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 25.1% (1,080 total)
— 71.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,757,000
— Cost per meal: $3.04

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#23. Wilkes County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (11,190 total)
— 49.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.1% (3,120 total)
— 51.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,366,000
— Cost per meal: $2.80

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#22. Yancey County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (2,910 total)
— 50.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 20.0% (660 total)
— 37.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,605,000
— Cost per meal: $3.23

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#21. Burke County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (14,770 total)
— 50.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 21.7% (3,690 total)
— 48.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $7,054,000
— Cost per meal: $2.79

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#20. Cleveland County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (15,920 total)
— 50.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 23.2% (4,970 total)
— 58.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $7,478,000
— Cost per meal: $2.75

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#19. McDowell County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (7,480 total)
— 51.4% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 20.4% (1,890 total)
— 39.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,782,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#18. Cherokee County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.6% (4,640 total)
— 52.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.1% (1,050 total)
— 51.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,388,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#17. Vance County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.6% (7,390 total)
— 52.3% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (2,900 total)
— 87.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,344,000
— Cost per meal: $2.65

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#16. Edgecombe County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.7% (8,800 total)
— 53.2% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.5% (3,540 total)
— 102.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,384,000
— Cost per meal: $2.91

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#15. Swain County

– Food insecurity rate: 16.9% (2,410 total)
— 55.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.0% (720 total)
— 50.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,305,000
— Cost per meal: $3.17

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#14. Columbus County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (9,540 total)
— 56.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 26.4% (3,160 total)
— 80.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,577,000
— Cost per meal: $2.81

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#13. Rutherford County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (11,320 total)
— 56.0% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.9% (3,160 total)
— 56.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,302,000
— Cost per meal: $2.74

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#12. Washington County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.1% (2,030 total)
— 56.9% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 32.2% (780 total)
— 120.5% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,031,000
— Cost per meal: $2.97

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#11. Bladen County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.1% (5,730 total)
— 56.9% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 25.8% (1,810 total)
— 76.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,013,000
— Cost per meal: $3.08

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#10. Graham County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.6% (1,500 total)
— 61.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 22.2% (390 total)
— 52.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $814,000
— Cost per meal: $3.17

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#9. Halifax County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.6% (9,020 total)
— 61.5% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.5% (3,250 total)
— 102.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,442,000
— Cost per meal: $2.88

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#8. Lenoir County

– Food insecurity rate: 17.7% (10,070 total)
— 62.4% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.1% (3,720 total)
— 99.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,669,000
— Cost per meal: $2.71

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#7. Tyrrell County

– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (740 total)
— 66.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 31.5% (180 total)
— 115.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $419,000
— Cost per meal: $3.31

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#6. Jones County

– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (1,740 total)
— 66.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 27.6% (500 total)
— 89.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $909,000
— Cost per meal: $3.06

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#5. Richmond County

– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (8,170 total)
— 66.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.3% (3,000 total)
— 100.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,660,000
— Cost per meal: $2.62

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#4. Alleghany County

– Food insecurity rate: 18.5% (2,030 total)
— 69.7% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 26.8% (510 total)
— 83.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $983,000
— Cost per meal: $2.83

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#3. Robeson County

– Food insecurity rate: 19.1% (25,350 total)
— 75.2% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (9,130 total)
— 87.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $11,454,000
— Cost per meal: $2.64

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#2. Hyde County

– Food insecurity rate: 19.2% (1,000 total)
— 76.1% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 29.1% (320 total)
— 99.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $556,000
— Cost per meal: $3.25

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#1. Scotland County

– Food insecurity rate: 19.7% (6,900 total)
— 80.7% higher than national average
– Child food insecurity rate: 31.4% (2,530 total)
— 115.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,347,000
— Cost per meal: $2.84

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