While the nation continues to see a decline in the number of people experiencing food insecurity, Missouri is one of a handful of states that saw an increase over the past year in the number of people who struggle to afford enough food.
According to a Gallup survey released earlier this month, 17.3 percent of those surveyed in Missouri said they experienced food insecurity so far this year, which is half percent increase from last year’s number.
One half of a percent may not be a statistically significant increase but Glen Koenen from Empower Missouri, a state activist organization, said this small change signifies a bigger problem.
“We're running more than 2 percent away from the national average,” Koenen said. “What it basically says is we should have had 100,000 fewer hungry people in Missouri, and instead we had 30,000 more.”
A September report from the USDA also found that Missouri had the seventh highest number of people experiencing food insecurity in the United States.
Koenen said his organization believes a lack of economic growth and changes to the state’s Family Support Division are some of the reasons more Missourians continue to struggle to afford enough food.