Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in North Carolina

Written by:
September 13, 2022
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in North Carolina

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 5.5 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2021. 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 North Carolina with the highest rate of food insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by highest percent of children with food insecurity as of 2020. North Carolina has a child food insecurity rate of 17.1%, which ranks #9 highest among all states.

States with the highest rate of food insecure children
#1. Louisiana: 21.5%
#2. New Mexico: 20.5%
#3. Mississippi: 20.4%
#4. Alabama: 19.8%
#5. Arkansas: 19.7%

States with the lowest rate of food insecure children
#1. North Dakota: 8.1%
#2. Massachusetts: 8.8%
#3. New Jersey: 9.0%
#4. Minnesota: 9.3%
#5. New Hampshire: 9.5%

Read on to see where food insecurity is most prevalent in North Carolina.

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Gaston County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.5% (9,770 total)
--- 3.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.0% (31,070 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $15,422,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.08
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digidreamgrafix // Shutterstock

#49. Graham County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.6% (330 total)
--- 3.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.7% (1,420 total)
--- 4.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $697,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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RnR // Wikimedia Commons

#48. McDowell County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.8% (1,800 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (7,010 total)
--- 3.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,393,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.01
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Harnett County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.0% (6,990 total)
--- 3.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.7% (18,430 total)
--- 1.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $9,618,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.24
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Swain County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.3% (660 total)
--- 4.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.1% (2,290 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,178,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.19
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James R Poston // Shutterstock

#45. Cherokee County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.4% (950 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (4,660 total)
--- 4.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,288,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#44. Forsyth County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.4% (17,760 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.0% (49,350 total)
--- 1.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $26,149,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Montgomery County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.5% (1,220 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.8% (3,750 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,729,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.86
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#42. Craven County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.8% (4,610 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.5% (13,770 total)
--- 1.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $7,440,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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#41. Pasquotank County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.9% (1,840 total)
--- 4.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 12.2% (4,860 total)
--- 0.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,397,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Burke County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.4% (3,610 total)
--- 5.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (14,650 total)
--- 4.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $7,052,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.99
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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Rowan County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.9% (6,890 total)
--- 5.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.5% (20,420 total)
--- 2.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $10,339,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.14
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David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

#38. Beaufort County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.0% (2,080 total)
--- 5.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.0% (6,620 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,378,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.17
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Duplin County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.1% (3,130 total)
--- 6.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.6% (8,040 total)
--- 1.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,862,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.98
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#36. Guilford County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.3% (26,440 total)
--- 6.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.3% (70,990 total)
--- 1.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $38,234,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.35
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Rockingham County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.6% (4,180 total)
--- 6.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (14,110 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,844,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.01
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Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#34. Rutherford County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.6% (3,090 total)
--- 6.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.2% (11,450 total)
--- 5.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,452,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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State Archives of North Carolina Raleigh, NC // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Sampson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.6% (3,500 total)
--- 6.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.0% (8,880 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,203,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Lee County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.0% (3,390 total)
--- 6.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.6% (8,940 total)
--- 2.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,363,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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OptimumPx // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Cleveland County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.2% (4,980 total)
--- 7.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (15,350 total)
--- 3.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $7,244,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.93
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NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Caswell County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.3% (980 total)
--- 7.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.1% (3,190 total)
--- 2.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,584,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.08
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CZmarlin — Christopher Ziemnowicz // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Hoke County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.3% (3,470 total)
--- 7.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.1% (8,250 total)
--- 3.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,067,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Nikola Spasic Photography // Shutterstock

#28. Pitt County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.3% (8,960 total)
--- 7.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.4% (25,960 total)
--- 2.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $13,305,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.18
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Wayne County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.5% (6,910 total)
--- 7.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.2% (17,580 total)
--- 2.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $8,347,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.95
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#26. Hyde County

- Child food insecurity rate: 23.9% (260 total)
--- 7.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (860 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $552,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.99
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Tradewinds // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Jones County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.0% (420 total)
--- 7.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.2% (1,630 total)
--- 5.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $881,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Person County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.1% (2,000 total)
--- 8.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.2% (5,600 total)
--- 2.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,750,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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#23. Alleghany County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.7% (470 total)
--- 8.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.5% (1,940 total)
--- 5.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $936,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.00
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BrendaByrneGreene // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Nash County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.8% (5,130 total)
--- 8.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.8% (13,040 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,257,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.98
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Greene County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.9% (1,060 total)
--- 8.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.9% (3,130 total)
--- 3.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,613,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.20
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Bethbrownebooks // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Chowan County

- Child food insecurity rate: 25.9% (730 total)
--- 9.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.7% (2,060 total)
--- 2.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,016,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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gerrydincher // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Columbus County

- Child food insecurity rate: 25.9% (3,030 total)
--- 9.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.6% (9,260 total)
--- 4.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,377,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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#18. Cumberland County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.1% (22,400 total)
--- 11.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (54,170 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $27,684,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.17
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ncwetlands.org// Wikimedia Commons

#17. Bladen County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.2% (1,860 total)
--- 11.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (5,420 total)
--- 4.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,801,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.21
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Wilson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (5,120 total)
--- 11.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (12,630 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,177,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.04
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Katangais // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Robeson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.7% (9,130 total)
--- 11.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.8% (24,700 total)
--- 7.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $11,265,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.83
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Lenoir County

- Child food insecurity rate: 28.2% (3,600 total)
--- 12.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (9,560 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,572,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.97
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Alanteitleman // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Martin County

- Child food insecurity rate: 28.3% (1,310 total)
--- 12.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (3,500 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,642,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.91
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Anson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 29.6% (1,440 total)
--- 13.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.5% (3,540 total)
--- 2.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,794,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Richmond County

- Child food insecurity rate: 29.7% (3,010 total)
--- 13.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.3% (7,750 total)
--- 5.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,603,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.89
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HarmonyReignPope // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Tyrrell County

- Child food insecurity rate: 29.7% (160 total)
--- 13.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (640 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $316,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Northampton County

- Child food insecurity rate: 30.3% (1,040 total)
--- 14.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.4% (2,830 total)
--- 2.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,367,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.00
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KimWrenn // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Vance County

- Child food insecurity rate: 30.7% (3,250 total)
--- 14.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.6% (7,410 total)
--- 4.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,430,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.87
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Boston Public Library // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Hertford County

- Child food insecurity rate: 31.5% (1,400 total)
--- 15.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.9% (3,530 total)
--- 3.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,671,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Theresaperry44 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Bertie County

- Child food insecurity rate: 32.2% (1,050 total)
--- 16.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (3,160 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,496,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Warren County

- Child food insecurity rate: 32.6% (1,160 total)
--- 16.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.1% (3,170 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,467,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.87
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Cecouchman // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Halifax County

- Child food insecurity rate: 33.1% (3,580 total)
--- 17.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.9% (9,060 total)
--- 6.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,378,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.00
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State Archives of North Carolina // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Edgecombe County

- Child food insecurity rate: 34.0% (3,990 total)
--- 17.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (8,570 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,160,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.01
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Scotland County

- Child food insecurity rate: 35.2% (2,790 total)
--- 19.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 20.4% (7,140 total)
--- 8.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,462,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.01
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Ymblanter // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Washington County

- Child food insecurity rate: 36.5% (870 total)
--- 20.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 19.1% (2,250 total)
--- 7.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,056,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.91

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