According to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 18.2 percent of respondents — or more than one in six people — in Missouri reported in 2012 not having enough money to buy food that they or their family needed at some points during the prior 12 months.

This report provides data on food hardship — the inability to afford enough food — for every region, every state, every Congressional District, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including St. Louis and Kansas City MSAs in Missouri.

Among states, Mississippi had the highest food hardship rate (24.6 percent) and North Dakota had the lowest (10.9 percent).

For Missouri it found that:

For the Kansas City MSA, the food hardship rate for 2011-’12 was 15 percent, and for St. Louis MSA, the food hardship rate was 15.3 percent.

Missouri’s rate was higher than the Midwest regional average of 17 percent.

“It is unacceptable that so many people across Missouri are struggling and cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW). “These numbers show us that we must make our nation’s safety net stronger, not weaker. We can’t afford to leave these vulnerable people behind.”

FRAC’s food hardship report analyzed data collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008.

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?”

The full report is available at