Map the Meal Gap

Almost 50,000 people in the Northeast Iowa Food Bank’s 16-county service area are food insecure, meaning that they don’t always know where they will find their next meal. This is according to research released by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. The study found that in Black Hawk County alone, more than 19,000 individuals are food insecure.

The findings result from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study, which provides estimates on the rate of food insecurity at the county and congressional district level for the entire nation. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network. “The alarming rate of food insecure people in our state and more specifically our own neighborhoods is truly troubling. Knowing that about 1 in 5 children in our service area are experiencing food insecurity is cause for further concern," stated Barbara Prather, Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

The findings of "Map the Meal Gap" are based on statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by The Nielsen Company (NYSE: NLSN), a global information and measurement company providing insights into what consumers watch and buy. The study was supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, The Nielsen Company and the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

"Map the Meal Gap" provides critical information—food insecurity rates for each county and congressional district. Prior to the study’s first release in March 2011, food insecurity data was only available at the state level in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report. The study further analyzes each county's food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance, and also provides meal cost estimates for every county in the nation. This data has the potential to redefine the way service providers and policy makers address areas of need.

For more information about the study or to view the interactive map, visit

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