Maryland Hunger Map | Maryland Food Bank

Maryland Hunger Map

A Deep Dive into Hunger in Our State

The global pandemic brought to light a reality that for years the food bank has tried to convey: too many Marylanders are one missed paycheck or unexpected event away from being food insecure. But the truth is that people from all walks of life and every community are affected by hunger in some way, and with the help of our Maryland Hunger Map, we’re able to get a more accurate picture of what hunger really looks like in this state.

A Realistic View of Hunger

Traditionally, we relied on data from Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap study to quantify the need and guide our efforts. But as helpful as that data has been, it only recognizes those who are living below the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) — a national statistic that identified approximately 640,180 individuals in Maryland as facing food insecurity before COVID-19.

Because we’re on the ground every day feeding hungry Marylanders, we knew that 640,180 was a broad estimate, even before the global pandemic. Barriers to food access have always been a challenge in Maryland, where many hard-working individuals and families were living just above the poverty line and despite their best efforts, they still couldn’t afford their most basic needs, including food.

Maryland hunger map 2021

The United for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Study has become a cornerstone of the Maryland Hunger Map because it reflects a more realistic measure of financial hardship. Unlike the Federal Poverty Level, the ALICE Household Survival Budget accounts for the actual costs of basic household necessities in Maryland, including the cost of housing, childcare, food, transportation, and health care, at a bare minimum “survival” level. To put it simply, traditional economic measures do not capture what ALICE workers and their families are experiencing in this unprecedented moment.

All available research points to the interrelation of hardship “drivers.” Unemployment, low income, and housing instability can be significant drivers of food insecurity (and vice versa). The new Maryland Hunger Map underscores that association and correlation, which is why we’ve added two new external data layers — the Urban Institute’s Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index and the US Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Claims statistics.

Take a Deeper Dive into Hunger Statistics

See what the need looks like in your neighborhood.

Take a Deeper Dive into Hunger Statistics

See what the need looks like in your neighborhood.

Redefining Hunger & Using Data to Fight It

Using the most up-to-date information available from sources including the U.S. Census (FPL), United Way’s ALICE Report, and other localized data*, we estimate that up to 2.25 million Marylanders may face food insecurity in 2021. That’s more than 2 million residents living both below the Federal Poverty level and above that line — individuals who are working hard yet still struggle to afford the very basic necessities of life.

With the help of this innovative tool, we’re able to customize strategies in each of the areas we serve, identifying specific neighborhoods that require additional resources, and making them available in a variety of ways.

Just as the root causes of hunger vary from community to community and county to county, so too will our solutions. The Maryland Hunger Map will help us identify what tactics and resources may be required in different parts of the state so that we can improve the lives of more Marylanders by helping them break free from the stubborn grip of hunger.

*Population per municipality (Census CDPs); Population per Community Statistical Area (Baltimore City); Federal Poverty Level population (Census); ALICE in Maryland, A Financial Hardship Study (United Way); Projected Food Insecurity Rate 2021 (Feeding America); Pounds needed, based on 90 meals (Feeding America); MFB Distribution Points; MFB + Distribution Points pounds distributed; Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index (the Urban Institute); and Unemployment Insurance Claims (US Department of Labor).

Exploring Hunger

Use the Maryland Hunger Map to learn about the true hunger that persists in our state. Start in your own neighborhood, and experiment by clicking the different layers to see what hunger really looks like in your community

$30

helps feed one newly out-of-work individual this month

$55

can help provide enough food to cover the weekends for one homeless child & family this month

$100

supplies one child with healthy snacks for the entire summer

Take a Deeper Dive into Hunger Statistics

See what the need looks like in your neighborhood.

Take a Deeper Dive into Hunger Statistics

See what the need looks like in your neighborhood.

For more information about the Maryland Hunger Map, please contact us.

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