Over 12 Percent of Maryland Households Struggle to Afford Enough Food

Emily Pickren

Baltimore, August 1, 2018 — Despite an improving economy, 12.6 percent of households in Maryland reported that they struggled to buy enough food for themselves and their families during 2016–2017, according to a new report released by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC, a national anti-hunger advocacy group).

How Hungry is America? provides data on food hardship — the inability to afford enough food— nationally, for every state, the District of Columbia, and 108 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) across the country. The report is based on 337,690 interviews in 2016–2017.

Maryland ranked 43rd in the nation for food hardship (1 being the worst), with 1 in 8 households reporting they had trouble putting food on the table. The food hardship rate in Maryland is higher in households with children than households without children, 14.8 percent compared to 11.4 percent, respectively.

“Maryland may be the wealthiest state in the nation, but not all Marylanders share in the prosperity. Food hardship affects people in every community in Maryland, although it often goes unseen by those not looking for it,” said Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Hunger can hide behind doors of nice houses with mortgages in default, or the heat turned off, or all of the income going to housing costs, leaving little or no money for food. Sometimes it hides behind the stoic faces of parents who skip meals to protect their children from hunger.”

Nationally, the report found that after several years of decline, the food hardship rate for all households increased from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. The food hardship rate for households with children is 1.3 times higher than for households without children.

About the Report
How Hungry is America? focuses on data for the nation for 2017 and for every state and the District of Columbia, and 108 MSAs for 2016–2017. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship. FRAC uses the phrase “food hardship” to avoid confusion with the annual Census Bureau/U.S. Department of Agriculture survey and analysis that produces “food insecurity” numbers, but the concepts are comparable.


Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.