Food Insecurity

Who doesn’t get enough food in Idaho?

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Those who do not get enough food are said to be “food insecure.” According to the USDA, people are either food secure with marginal to high food insecurity, or food insecure with low to very low security. Those who are food insecure report reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet or disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake1.

  • 1 in 6 (15.6%) Idaho residents are food insecure – that’s a quarter of a million people.2
    • Of these, 50% have incomes below 130% of the poverty threshold, which makes them eligible for food stamps and other government assistance.
    • 20% have incomes between 130% and 185% of poverty, which makes them eligible for WIC and reduced-price school meals but not food stamps (SNAP benefits)
    • 21.1% of Idaho’s children are food insecure – 90,240 children or 1 in 5
    • 28% of Idaho’s food insecure children do not qualify for federal nutrition assistance4
  • The counties with the highest rates of overall food insecurity are Madison, Shoshone, Latah, Adams, and Lemhi.
  • The counties with the highest rates of childhood food insecurity are Lemhi, Adams, Idaho, and Clearwater.
  • A large percentage of Idaho’s lands lie in food deserts – places where affordable, nutritious food is difficult to obtain.3


  1. USDA – Definitions of food insecurity
  2. Idaho Food Bank (2015)
  3. USDA – Economic Research Service (2015)
  4. Feeding America (2015)
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