Food insecurity is a widespread problem in the United States, with people experiencing food insecurity in every single county in the nation. The nonprofit Feeding America describes food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.”

Food insecurity hits children particularly hard. The USDA estimates that more than 5.5 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2021. Not having consistent access to enough food can affect cognitive abilities, overall health, moods, and attention spans—not to mention the psychological effects of living with scarcity.

Stacker compiled a list of counties in Texas with the highest rate of food insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by highest percent of children with food insecurity as of 2020. Texas has a child food insecurity rate of 18.9%, which ranks #7 highest among all states.

States with the highest rate of food insecure children
#1. Louisiana: 21.5%
#2. New Mexico: 20.5%
#3. Mississippi: 20.4%
#4. Alabama: 19.8%
#5. Arkansas: 19.7%

States with the lowest rate of food insecure children
#1. North Dakota: 8.1%
#2. Massachusetts: 8.8%
#3. New Jersey: 9.0%
#4. Minnesota: 9.3%
#5. New Hampshire: 9.5%

Read on to see where food insecurity is most prevalent in Texas.

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#50. San Patricio County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.4% (4,570 total)
— 9.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (10,840 total)
— 4.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,021,000
— Cost per meal: $2.88

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#49. Swisher County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.4% (470 total)
— 9.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.6% (1,300 total)
— 5.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $614,000
— Cost per meal: $2.94

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#48. Throckmorton County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.4% (80 total)
— 9.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.4% (280 total)
— 6.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $134,000
— Cost per meal: $2.97

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#47. Limestone County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.5% (1,330 total)
— 9.4% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.5% (3,860 total)
— 4.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,798,000
— Cost per meal: $2.89

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#46. Refugio County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.6% (420 total)
— 9.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 15.8% (1,110 total)
— 4.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $553,000
— Cost per meal: $3.10

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#45. Angelina County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.7% (5,710 total)
— 9.6% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.4% (15,170 total)
— 5.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $7,065,000
— Cost per meal: $2.89

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#44. Camp County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.8% (880 total)
— 9.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.7% (2,160 total)
— 4.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $948,000
— Cost per meal: $2.73

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#43. Cochran County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.0% (200 total)
— 9.9% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.0% (540 total)
— 7.2% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $261,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#42. Terry County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.3% (900 total)
— 10.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.2% (2,140 total)
— 5.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,036,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#41. Cass County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.4% (1,770 total)
— 10.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.4% (5,230 total)
— 5.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,508,000
— Cost per meal: $2.98

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#40. Dawson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.5% (880 total)
— 10.4% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (2,330 total)
— 6.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,215,000
— Cost per meal: $3.24

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#39. Wilbarger County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.5% (750 total)
— 10.4% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.4% (2,340 total)
— 6.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,135,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#38. Cottle County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.6% (120 total)
— 10.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.5% (320 total)
— 7.7% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $155,000
— Cost per meal: $3.01

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#37. Houston County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.8% (1,200 total)
— 10.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.9% (3,880 total)
— 5.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,707,000
— Cost per meal: $2.73

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#36. Nacogdoches County

– Child food insecurity rate: 26.8% (4,050 total)
— 10.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.6% (12,130 total)
— 6.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $5,931,000
— Cost per meal: $3.04

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#35. Bee County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.0% (1,880 total)
— 10.9% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.9% (5,500 total)
— 5.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,498,000
— Cost per meal: $2.82

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#34. Falls County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.2% (1,000 total)
— 11.1% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.3% (3,160 total)
— 6.5% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,373,000
— Cost per meal: $2.70

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#33. Matagorda County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.2% (2,600 total)
— 11.1% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.4% (6,400 total)
— 5.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,968,000
— Cost per meal: $2.88

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#32. Kleberg County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (2,050 total)
— 11.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.9% (5,490 total)
— 6.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,578,000
— Cost per meal: $2.92

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#31. Polk County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.3% (2,770 total)
— 11.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (9,150 total)
— 6.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,233,000
— Cost per meal: $2.87

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#30. Hudspeth County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.4% (310 total)
— 11.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (850 total)
— 6.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $406,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#29. Aransas County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.6% (1,340 total)
— 11.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.6% (4,500 total)
— 6.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,244,000
— Cost per meal: $3.10

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#28. Garza County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.6% (230 total)
— 11.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.9% (1,020 total)
— 5.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $532,000
— Cost per meal: $3.24

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#27. Shelby County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.1% (1,860 total)
— 12.0% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.8% (4,500 total)
— 6.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $2,148,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#26. Cameron County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.3% (36,370 total)
— 12.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.9% (75,390 total)
— 6.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $29,708,000
— Cost per meal: $2.45

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#25. Trinity County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.6% (840 total)
— 12.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.2% (2,830 total)
— 7.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,245,000
— Cost per meal: $2.73

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#24. Tyler County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.6% (1,180 total)
— 12.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.7% (4,240 total)
— 7.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,976,000
— Cost per meal: $2.89

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#23. Kinney County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.9% (130 total)
— 12.8% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 16.2% (600 total)
— 4.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $230,000
— Cost per meal: $2.39

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#22. Sabine County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.2% (560 total)
— 13.1% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 20.8% (2,180 total)
— 9.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,036,000
— Cost per meal: $2.95

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#21. Jasper County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.4% (2,500 total)
— 13.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.6% (6,970 total)
— 7.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,249,000
— Cost per meal: $2.90

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#20. Hidalgo County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.7% (83,470 total)
— 13.6% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.1% (164,720 total)
— 7.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $65,298,000
— Cost per meal: $2.46

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#19. Morris County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.7% (850 total)
— 13.6% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.9% (2,340 total)
— 7.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,027,000
— Cost per meal: $2.73

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#18. Duval County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.8% (860 total)
— 13.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 17.9% (2,000 total)
— 6.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $918,000
— Cost per meal: $2.85

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#17. Marion County

– Child food insecurity rate: 29.9% (540 total)
— 13.8% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.1% (1,800 total)
— 6.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $861,000
— Cost per meal: $2.97

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#16. Willacy County

– Child food insecurity rate: 30.9% (1,570 total)
— 14.8% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.0% (4,080 total)
— 7.2% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,499,000
— Cost per meal: $2.28

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#15. Jim Wells County

– Child food insecurity rate: 31.3% (3,560 total)
— 15.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (7,420 total)
— 6.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $3,408,000
— Cost per meal: $2.85

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#14. Jeff Davis County

– Child food insecurity rate: 31.4% (100 total)
— 15.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 15.7% (350 total)
— 3.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $159,000
— Cost per meal: $2.82

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#13. Newton County

– Child food insecurity rate: 31.4% (860 total)
— 15.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 20.8% (2,860 total)
— 9.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,333,000
— Cost per meal: $2.90

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#12. Maverick County

– Child food insecurity rate: 31.6% (5,740 total)
— 15.5% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 20.1% (11,660 total)
— 8.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $4,211,000
— Cost per meal: $2.24

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#11. Jefferson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 31.8% (19,360 total)
— 15.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 18.2% (46,070 total)
— 6.4% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $20,866,000
— Cost per meal: $2.81

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#10. Real County

– Child food insecurity rate: 32.3% (250 total)
— 16.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 21.3% (730 total)
— 9.5% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $282,000
— Cost per meal: $2.40

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#9. Dimmit County

– Child food insecurity rate: 33.0% (960 total)
— 16.9% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 23.1% (2,370 total)
— 11.3% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $856,000
— Cost per meal: $2.24

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#8. Zapata County

– Child food insecurity rate: 33.1% (1,570 total)
— 17.0% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 21.4% (3,040 total)
— 9.6% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,331,000
— Cost per meal: $2.72

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#7. San Augustine County

– Child food insecurity rate: 34.3% (560 total)
— 18.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 23.0% (1,900 total)
— 11.2% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $907,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#6. Jim Hogg County

– Child food insecurity rate: 34.9% (630 total)
— 18.8% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.7% (1,020 total)
— 7.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $468,000
— Cost per meal: $2.85

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#5. Culberson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 36.4% (210 total)
— 20.3% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 19.8% (430 total)
— 8.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $205,000
— Cost per meal: $2.96

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#4. Starr County

– Child food insecurity rate: 37.3% (7,850 total)
— 21.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 23.6% (15,100 total)
— 11.8% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $6,613,000
— Cost per meal: $2.72

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#3. Brooks County

– Child food insecurity rate: 39.8% (660 total)
— 23.7% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 23.9% (1,700 total)
— 12.1% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $798,000
— Cost per meal: $2.92

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#2. Zavala County

– Child food insecurity rate: 41.3% (1,430 total)
— 25.2% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 22.8% (2,720 total)
— 11.0% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $1,049,000
— Cost per meal: $2.40

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#1. Presidio County

– Child food insecurity rate: 44.1% (800 total)
— 28.0% higher than national average
– Food insecurity rate: 28.7% (1,950 total)
— 16.9% higher than national average
– Annual food budget shortfall: $887,000
— Cost per meal: $2.82