Hunger in South Dakota
Nearly 75,000 people
in South Dakota are food insecure
1 in 6 of them
Food insecurity, often referred to as "hunger", is defined by the USDA as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time. A missed paycheck, car repair, or medical emergency could place someone in a situation that causes them to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.
According to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap Study, hunger exists in every county in South Dakota, ranging from a low 4.6% in Lincoln County up to 26% in Todd County. These stats support research that shows rural and farm communities have unique challenges that make affording food more difficult, including lack of transportation, jobs that pay low wages, and underemployment.
Food insecurity can have a wide impact depending on someone's circumstances. Parents skip meals so their kids can eat; seniors choose medications over food. Others work full-time yet can’t stretch their paycheck to cover all their household expenses, or qualify for food assistance benefits.
When people don’t have enough food or have to choose inexpensive foods with low nutritional value, it can lead to chronic diseases and impact a child's ability to learn. And once the cycle of poor diet and poor health begins, it can be hard to break.
There isn’t a one-time solution for ending food insecurity. We are committed to tackling the challenges of hunger in South Dakota because when our communities — especially children — have access to healthy, well-balanced diets, everyone benefits.