Counties with the highest rate of food insecurity in Tennessee

Written by:
September 7, 2021
Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the highest rate of food insecurity in Tennessee

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 Tennessee 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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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Decatur County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.0% (1,760 total)
--- 37.6% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.1% (450 total)
--- 24.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $900,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.99
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Cumberland County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.0% (8,860 total)
--- 37.6% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 17.8% (1,870 total)
--- 21.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,117,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.38
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Houston County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.1% (1,230 total)
--- 38.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.5% (320 total)
--- 26.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $664,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.16
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Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Macon County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.1% (3,590 total)
--- 38.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 15.2% (880 total)
--- 4.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,839,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.00
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#46. Hickman County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.2% (3,760 total)
--- 39.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 17.1% (900 total)
--- 17.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,062,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.21
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Lawrence County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.3% (6,620 total)
--- 40.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 17.4% (1,900 total)
--- 19.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,419,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.02
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Sullivan County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.3% (24,060 total)
--- 40.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.5% (5,660 total)
--- 26.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $13,367,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Monroe County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (7,110 total)
--- 41.3% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (1,850 total)
--- 27.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,925,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.23
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Anderson County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.4% (11,740 total)
--- 41.3% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 16.9% (2,720 total)
--- 15.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,500,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.24
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Meigs County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (1,880 total)
--- 42.2% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.4% (460 total)
--- 26.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,067,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.32
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Marion County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.5% (4,440 total)
--- 42.2% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 17.1% (1,030 total)
--- 17.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,426,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.20
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Weakley County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (5,270 total)
--- 44.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.1% (1,240 total)
--- 30.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,632,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.92
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#38. DeKalb County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (3,140 total)
--- 45.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.5% (800 total)
--- 26.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,722,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.21
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Henderson County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (4,410 total)
--- 45.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 17.7% (1,130 total)
--- 21.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,280,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.02
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Wayne County

- Food insecurity rate: 15.9% (2,660 total)
--- 45.9% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.3% (590 total)
--- 32.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,344,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Lewis County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.0% (1,930 total)
--- 46.8% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.9% (520 total)
--- 36.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,042,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.16
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Ballinindasierra // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Hardin County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.0% (4,110 total)
--- 46.8% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.7% (990 total)
--- 28.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,136,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.04
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#33. McMinn County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.1% (8,550 total)
--- 47.7% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (2,090 total)
--- 27.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,788,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.28
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AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Grainger County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (3,740 total)
--- 48.6% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.7% (880 total)
--- 28.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,948,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Carroll County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.3% (4,540 total)
--- 49.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.9% (1,180 total)
--- 36.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,325,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.00
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Cj4258 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Henry County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (5,310 total)
--- 50.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 22.0% (1,470 total)
--- 50.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,785,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.07
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GamblinMonkey // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Dyer County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (6,150 total)
--- 50.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 18.6% (1,670 total)
--- 27.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,276,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.12
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AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Greene County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.4% (11,320 total)
--- 50.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 20.1% (2,680 total)
--- 37.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,822,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.01
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#27. McNairy County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (4,270 total)
--- 51.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.1% (1,080 total)
--- 30.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,114,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.90
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Union County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.7% (3,260 total)
--- 53.2% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.8% (840 total)
--- 35.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,831,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Van Buren County

- Food insecurity rate: 16.9% (970 total)
--- 55.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.5% (210 total)
--- 33.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $527,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.18
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Pickett County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (860 total)
--- 56.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 23.0% (210 total)
--- 57.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $453,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.08
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Unicoi County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (3,040 total)
--- 56.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.2% (590 total)
--- 31.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,662,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.20
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Rhea County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (5,560 total)
--- 56.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.0% (1,590 total)
--- 43.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,142,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.31
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Walker Kinsler // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Hawkins County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.0% (9,600 total)
--- 56.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.9% (2,520 total)
--- 50.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,340,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Morgan County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.2% (3,700 total)
--- 57.8% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 20.8% (870 total)
--- 42.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,125,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.36
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Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Lauderdale County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.3% (4,500 total)
--- 58.7% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 23.4% (1,400 total)
--- 60.3% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,212,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.88
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Warren County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.4% (7,080 total)
--- 59.6% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 22.1% (2,130 total)
--- 51.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,557,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Sequatchie County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.5% (2,590 total)
--- 60.6% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 22.4% (680 total)
--- 53.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,461,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.30
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Jackson County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.6% (2,060 total)
--- 61.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.2% (450 total)
--- 45.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,087,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.09
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Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Obion County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.6% (5,350 total)
--- 61.5% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.9% (1,460 total)
--- 50.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,691,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.94
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Benton County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.7% (2,860 total)
--- 62.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 20.6% (650 total)
--- 41.1% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,490,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Fentress County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.7% (3,220 total)
--- 62.4% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 20.3% (780 total)
--- 39.0% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,744,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.17
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Johnson County

- Food insecurity rate: 17.8% (3,170 total)
--- 63.3% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 23.3% (700 total)
--- 59.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,776,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.28
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Carter County

- Food insecurity rate: 18.0% (10,130 total)
--- 65.1% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.1% (2,230 total)
--- 44.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $5,772,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.33
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Claiborne County

- Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (5,790 total)
--- 67.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.6% (1,300 total)
--- 47.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,997,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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#9. Grundy County

- Food insecurity rate: 18.3% (2,440 total)
--- 67.9% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 20.9% (600 total)
--- 43.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,379,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.31
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#8. Campbell County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.0% (7,560 total)
--- 74.3% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 22.7% (1,860 total)
--- 55.5% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,059,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.14
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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Cocke County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.1% (6,800 total)
--- 75.2% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 25.2% (1,840 total)
--- 72.6% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,660,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Clay County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.2% (1,470 total)
--- 76.1% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 21.3% (330 total)
--- 45.9% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $777,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.09
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#5. Perry County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.2% (1,530 total)
--- 76.1% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 23.9% (420 total)
--- 63.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $797,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.05
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Bledsoe County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.6% (2,910 total)
--- 79.8% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 24.7% (700 total)
--- 69.2% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,656,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.33
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Scott County

- Food insecurity rate: 19.6% (4,310 total)
--- 79.8% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 22.4% (1,190 total)
--- 53.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,315,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.14
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Flickr user chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lake County

- Food insecurity rate: 20.5% (1,520 total)
--- 88.1% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 28.0% (300 total)
--- 91.8% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $743,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.86
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Hancock County

- Food insecurity rate: 21.8% (1,440 total)
--- 100.0% higher than national average
- Child food insecurity rate: 27.4% (380 total)
--- 87.7% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $746,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03

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