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A Hungrier Missouri

September 6, 2013

Story by:  Randy Mertens

Some Missouri families struggle to meet their most basic food needs.  According to Sandy Rikoon,  Director of the University of Missouri’s Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security, the percentage of food insecure Missourians is on the rise. 

The number of people in Missouri who worry about having sufficient food, or who experience outright hunger, is moving in the wrong direction, according to University of Missouri research.

The 2013 Missouri Hunger Atlas, issued every two-three years by MU’S Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security, shows that more than one in five households with children in Missouri are food insecure. Almost seven out of 100 households experienced hunger at some point in the year.

“The percent of Missouri’s population that is food insecure has grown from an average of 8.6 percent during the 1999-2001 period to 16 percent over the years 2009-2011,” notes Sandy Rikoon, the Center’s director and professor of Rural Sociology. “No other state has seen their percentage increase more than seven percent over this time.”

The same pattern holds true for the percent of households that experience hunger in the form of reduced meal portions, skipped meals and similar reductions.

“In Missouri, 2.3 percent of the population ten years ago was classified as food insecure with hunger,” Rikoon said. “Over the past three years it’s nearly tripled to 6.7 percent of households. One alarming dimension of this trend is that not only are more Missourians concerned about having sufficient food, but a higher percentage of these folks are unable to satisfy household needs through existing public and private sector programs.”  See more…