Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Tennessee

Written by:
September 13, 2022
Flickr user chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Tennessee

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 Tennessee 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. Tennessee has a child food insecurity rate of 15.5%, which ranks #17 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 Tennessee.

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Marion County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.6% (1,060 total)
--- 1.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.6% (4,460 total)
--- 3.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,311,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.22
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Coffee County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.7% (2,380 total)
--- 1.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.6% (8,200 total)
--- 2.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,375,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.31
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Sullivan County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.7% (5,400 total)
--- 1.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.8% (23,290 total)
--- 3.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $12,606,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Hamblen County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.8% (2,670 total)
--- 1.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.6% (9,440 total)
--- 2.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,656,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#46. McNairy County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.8% (1,000 total)
--- 1.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (4,070 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,978,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.02
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Fentress County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.0% (690 total)
--- 1.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (2,990 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,613,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.35
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Decatur County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (440 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.2% (1,780 total)
--- 3.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $891,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.11
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Gibson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (2,150 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.9% (6,850 total)
--- 2.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,360,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Grainger County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (840 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (3,650 total)
--- 3.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,971,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.35
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Lewis County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (470 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (1,980 total)
--- 4.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,094,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.43
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Van Buren County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (200 total)
--- 2.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.7% (970 total)
--- 4.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $489,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.13
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Carroll County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.2% (1,090 total)
--- 2.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.9% (4,150 total)
--- 3.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,090,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.13
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Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Fayette County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.2% (1,410 total)
--- 2.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.7% (4,350 total)
--- 1.1% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,339,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.34
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Franklin County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.3% (1,540 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.2% (6,360 total)
--- 3.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,251,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.17
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Jackson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.3% (390 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (1,860 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $968,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.23
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Benton County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.4% (590 total)
--- 2.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.4% (2,800 total)
--- 5.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,414,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.14
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Weakley County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.4% (1,190 total)
--- 2.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.9% (4,990 total)
--- 3.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,427,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.02
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Morgan County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (770 total)
--- 2.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (3,660 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,987,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.37
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#32. Sevier County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (3,750 total)
--- 2.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.0% (14,660 total)
--- 3.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $8,358,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.54
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Union County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (800 total)
--- 2.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (3,060 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,644,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.34
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GamblinMonkey // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Dyer County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.7% (1,650 total)
--- 2.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (5,880 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,065,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.24
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Unicoi County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.9% (550 total)
--- 2.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.1% (2,880 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,533,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.31
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Pickett County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.0% (180 total)
--- 2.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (800 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $433,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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#27. Davidson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.1% (27,420 total)
--- 3.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 12.4% (85,410 total)
--- 0.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $50,442,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.67
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Carter County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.3% (1,990 total)
--- 3.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (9,300 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,060,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.38
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Monroe County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.6% (1,940 total)
--- 3.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (7,330 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,891,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.30
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Walker Kinsler // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Hawkins County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.7% (2,220 total)
--- 3.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.0% (9,100 total)
--- 4.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,812,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.28
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Claiborne County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.9% (1,190 total)
--- 3.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (5,810 total)
--- 6.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,976,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.18
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#22. DeKalb County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.1% (880 total)
--- 4.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (3,430 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,774,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.21
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Clay County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.3% (320 total)
--- 4.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.6% (1,420 total)
--- 6.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $768,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Greene County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.3% (2,720 total)
--- 4.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (11,240 total)
--- 4.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,865,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.24
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Rhea County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.4% (1,530 total)
--- 4.3% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.6% (5,480 total)
--- 4.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,894,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.28
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Bledsoe County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.8% (470 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (2,720 total)
--- 6.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,430,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.27
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Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Obion County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.8% (1,380 total)
--- 4.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (4,910 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,386,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.02
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#16. Campbell County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.1% (1,720 total)
--- 5.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.4% (7,350 total)
--- 6.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,798,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.21
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Warren County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.6% (2,090 total)
--- 5.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (6,960 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,442,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.07
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#14. Grundy County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.7% (640 total)
--- 5.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.9% (2,390 total)
--- 6.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,233,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.20
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Cj4258 // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Henry County

- Child food insecurity rate: 21.9% (1,450 total)
--- 5.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (5,240 total)
--- 4.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,646,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.14
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Scott County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.3% (1,160 total)
--- 6.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 19.6% (4,330 total)
--- 7.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,142,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.07
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Johnson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.6% (680 total)
--- 6.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (3,020 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,664,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.42
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Sequatchie County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.7% (650 total)
--- 6.6% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.2% (2,560 total)
--- 5.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,485,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.60
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#9. Perry County

- Child food insecurity rate: 22.9% (420 total)
--- 6.8% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.8% (1,500 total)
--- 7.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $829,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.43
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#8. Madison County

- Child food insecurity rate: 24.3% (5,340 total)
--- 8.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.9% (13,620 total)
--- 2.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,898,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Cocke County

- Child food insecurity rate: 25.1% (1,830 total)
--- 9.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 18.8% (6,730 total)
--- 7.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,409,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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RealElectrical // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Hardeman County

- Child food insecurity rate: 25.5% (1,210 total)
--- 9.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.5% (3,670 total)
--- 2.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,736,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Lauderdale County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.0% (1,580 total)
--- 10.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (4,370 total)
--- 5.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,085,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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#4. Shelby County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.0% (63,280 total)
--- 10.9% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.7% (128,190 total)
--- 1.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $70,058,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.39
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Hancock County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (380 total)
--- 11.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 21.7% (1,420 total)
--- 9.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $692,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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Flickr user chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lake County

- Child food insecurity rate: 27.8% (290 total)
--- 11.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 21.2% (1,540 total)
--- 9.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $803,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.24
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#1. Haywood County

- Child food insecurity rate: 28.6% (1,120 total)
--- 12.5% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 14.6% (2,530 total)
--- 2.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,207,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96

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