Childhood food insecurity in Maine

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

Children who are food insecure have trouble doing their best in school. Food insecurity can have lifelong impacts on children's physical health, mental health and earning potential.
Chronic food insecurity causes stress among children that alters their normal brain development.

For more information see,
Food insecurity affects well-being

What the data shows
Maine saw improvement in this indicator in 2017, with the percent of children experiencing food insecurity dropping to 18.5%.  On a national level, Maine ranked 31st up from 35th in 2016, of 50 states in percent of children experiencing food insecurity. North Dakota was the lowest at 9.8%.

In 2017, the counties with the highest rates of child food insecurity were the rural counties of Piscataquis, (23.0%) , Somerset (22.5%) and Washington (22.0%) York and Cumberland Counties had the lowest rates of 16,6% or one in six children.
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Data Provided By
Note: Non-consecutive years appear adjacent in the trend line
because one or more years have been deselected.

Definitions: Children under age 18 living in households, where in the previous 12 months, there was an uncertainty of having, or an inability to acquire, enough food for all household members because of insufficient money or other resources.
Children under age 18 living in households, where in the previous 12 months, there was an uncertainty of having, or an inability to acquire, enough food for all household members because of insufficient money or other resources. 

Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

Data Source: Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap  Gundersen, C., A. Dewey, M. Kato, A. Crumbaugh & M. Strayer. Map the Meal Gap 2019: A Report on County and Congressional District Food Insecurity and County Food Cost in the United States in 2017. Feeding America, 2019








Footnotes: Map the Meal Gap's child food insecurity rates are determined using data from the 2001-2017 Current Population Survey on children under 18 years old in food insecure households; data from the 2017 American Community Survey on median family incomes for households with children, child poverty rates, home ownership, and race and ethnic demographics among children; and 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on unemployment rates.

Data in the state totals row do not reflect the sum of all counties in that state. The state totals are aggregated from the congressional districts data in that state.

Uploaded May 2019.