A new Gallup poll shows Delaware trails only Mississippi and Alabama in the percentage of residents who struggle to afford food.
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index from January to June 2012, 22.1 percent of Delawareans struggled to put food on the table for their families. Just two states, both in the deep south, have a higher percentage of residents struggling to eat.
As part of the survey, Gallup asked 1,000 Americans each day if there was a time in the past 12 months where they didn’t have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed. Delaware was one of 15 states where more than 20 percent of residents responded “yes.”
Nationwide, 18.2 percent of Americans say they’ve had trouble affording food, a number that matches results from 2011. Residents in southeastern and southwestern states are most likely to struggle to afford food, while residents living in the Mountain Plains and Midwest regions are least likely to struggle for food.
The numbers mirror results from the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger study done every four years in conjunction with Feeding America. “I think that’s certainly an accurate number,” said Food Bank of Delaware’s Kim Kostes. “When we released our findings in early 2010, our network of hunger-relief program partners were serving one in four Delawareans.”
That study also found that 17,500 different people receive food assistance through the Food Bank’s network of hunger-relief partners per week. That totals more than 240,000 people getting food from the Food Bank every year. As the economy continues to lag, that number is expected to grow.
Analysis from the Gallup survey predicts an increase in the struggle to afford food due to the 2012 drought that has affected nearly 80 percent of American agricultural land. The drought will likely drive up the cost of food and result in shortages in the food supply.
The margin of error in the survey nationally is +/- 1 to 2 percentage points, but because of Delaware’s small size, the margin of error is for the First State is closer to +/- 4 percentage points.