Food pantry and volunteer. Food insecurity.

Learn about food insecurity

What is food insecurity?

Defined as a lack of access to enough food for a healthy and active life, food insecurity is a pervasive issue that impacts the health and well-being of those who face it. Simply put, it’s when people are not able to afford the food they need. Hunger is a result of being food insecure. Food insecurity exists in every county in the United States.


Food insecurity is a complex issue that stems from poverty and systemic racism. High rates of hunger are directly linked to high rates of poverty. Hunger is an issue of resources and access, worsened by the many existing obstacles people face when trying to establish economic security, like:

  • Low-wage jobs or part-time hours
  • Transportation challenges
  • The high cost of housing, healthcare, and childcare
  • And many others

Millions of people in America are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from becoming food insecure. Food insecurity is currently on the rise due to growing cost of living, historic food inflation, and the end of pandemic-era government assistance programs that previously helped people stay afloat.


Food insecurity can have a detrimental impact on health and well-being. Some common effects include:
  • Serious health complications, including diabetes, hypertension, and depression
  • Damage to a child’s ability to learn and grow, including delays in body and brain development
  • Impossible trade-offs between meeting basic needs, such as paying for food vs. rent
Philabundance volunteer and area youth with healthy food staples.

food insecurity in our region

Hunger is on the rise throughout the United States. In Philabundance’s service area, Feeding America estimates that over 600,000 people (10.8%) experience food insecurity, a third of whom are children. This is 25% higher than the year prior.

Click the map below to see food insecurity rates for each county.

Bucks County

Number of Food Insecure 2022: 56,670
Food Insecurity Rate 2022: 8.8%

Philadelphia County

Food Insecure Population 2022: 242,530
Food Insecurity Rate 2022: 15.2%

Chester County

Number of Food Insecure 2022: 43,550
Food Insecurity Rate 2022: 8.1%

Montgomery County

Number of Food Insecure 2022: 73,850
Food Insecurity Rate 2022: 8.6%

Delaware County

Number of Food Insecure 2022: 55,650
Food Insecurity Rate 2022: 9.7%

Burlington County

Number of Food Insecure 2022:  36,610
Food Insecurity Rate 2022:  7.9%

Camden County

Number of Food Insecure 2022:  59,140
Food Insecurity Rate 2022:  11.9%

Gloucester County

Number of Food Insecure 2022:  26,960
Food Insecurity Rate 2022:  8.9%

Salem County

Number of Food Insecure 2022:  7,870
Food Insecurity Rate 2022:  12.1%


  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 44 million people (1 in 8), including 13 million children (1 in 5), in the U.S. are food insecure – 10 million more people than the year before.
  • Families with children and communities of color face disproportionately high rates of hunger.
  • Nearly 50% of food-insecure households ( do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and must rely on local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
  • 1 in 6 people turn to food banks for assistance

Learn More

For more information on food insecurity, visit Feeding America.
Find food insecurity rates in your community using Map the Meal Gap.
Learn about programs and policies that address food insecurity, and how you can take action to end hunger.