About 1 in 5 Texas children – and 1 in 8 Texans overall – faced the threat of hunger in 2020, according to the newest data in Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap report.
When the data is broken down by race and ethnicity, the numbers are even more stark. That year, 1 in 4 Black Texans and 1 in 5 Latino Texans faced the threat of hunger versus 1 in 14 white Texans.
A long history of discriminatory policies have created and sustained racial and ethnic disparities in Texas. In the century following the formal end of slavery and the broken promises of reconstruction, Texans of color were zoned out of higher-opportunity neighborhoods, denied credit, impeded by discriminatory employment practices, and often excluded in the design of economic policies intended to benefit all.
Even as many discriminatory laws have changed, the cumulative financial effects of this history have compounded from generation to generation. This has created higher levels of poverty and economic insecurity in Texas communities of color, resulting in more hunger.
The new data are separated out by county, congressional district, ZIP code, and census tract. A few key Texas geographic figures are:
Hunger Rates in Selected Texas Counties, by Race/Ethnicity
|Black % living with hunger
|Hispanic % living with hunger
|White % living with hunger
|Total % living with hunger
See a map of hunger data broken down by geographic area at map.feedingamerica.org
The good news is that we have the tools to solve hunger in Texas.
- We are urging Congress to pass a more robust child nutrition reauthorization bill that would make free school lunches and summer meals available to more families. Congress’ recent extension of summer meals flexibilities was a good step, and we are hopeful that lawmakers will take even more significant steps to fight child hunger in the coming weeks.
- Early next year, Congress will also have the opportunity to improve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”). SNAP is the most effective tool we have for addressing hunger, and we should strengthen it to feed more Americans more adequately.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has the ability to increase the amount of U.S.-grown food provided to food banks. This year, Texas food banks are on track to receive 30% less food than they did in 2021. The food donated from USDA programs is on track to be 44% less. The need for assistance has increased while our supply of food has decreased.
We are proud Texans, but we know our state can do better to feed all our friends and neighbors. We are grateful for the donors and advocates that support anti-poverty programs and food banks. Together we can reduce hunger and help our fellow Texans.
Join us to stay up to date on the latest hunger information and learn how to engage.