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FRAC report shows higher food insecurity in rural districts

The Food Research and Action Center today released an analysis of food security in the districts of members of the House Agriculture Committee that showed rural districts are slightly more likely than other districts to be food insecure.

The committee is preparing to mark up a reconciliation bill Wednesday that is likely to cut food stamp benefits or SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Using data from a 2011 Gallup poll in which respondents were asked if they been food insecure in the last two years, the study showed that nearly one in five households told the Gallup organization that they didn’t have the resources to buy food at times in the previous months and that the median rate in congressional districts whose representatives are on the House Agriculture Committee was 18.3 percent.

The median rate among all Congressional districts was 18.2 percent. The rate in committee chairman Frank Lucas’ district was 18.9 percent. (Chart for committee members' districts linked below.)

“These data are a reminder that even Agriculture Committee members from rural as well as metro areas typically have more constituents – both farmers and others – struggling with hunger than they have constituents who are farming, said FRAC President Jim Weill. “The cuts to SNAP foreshadowed by the House Budget Committee instructions are unconscionable not just for the nation as a whole, but for the constituents of the Agriculture Committee members. Members should reject SNAP cuts and strengthen the program.”

FRAC pointed out that the data are consistent with findings that the proportion of rural households (14.6 percent in 2010) which rely on the supplemental nutrition assistance program (food stamps) is higher than among suburban households (9 percent) and is comparable to central city households (14.8 percent).