Hartford and Connecticut

Connecticut has shown to have increasing amounts of food insecurity in the past several years. In particular, Hartford and Tolland Counties are at higher risk of food insecurity than the national average, as over 34,000 children in the Greater Hartford area suffer from food insecurity.

One in eight people, or 12.2 percent of Connecticut families are food insecure, a total of 450,000 people. This number has decreased in the last six years, down from 14.2 in 2012. This said, a survey of 120 of the larger food pantries in the spring of 2018 indicated that 63% of the food pantries saw the need for food increasing in the past year, with only 2% reporting a decrease in the demand for food assistance. According to the United Way’s 2018 ALICE report, 40 percent of Connecticut’s households have incomes that are below the level needed to pay for basic necessities.

Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare are Connecticut’s two regional food banks serving the state, part of the Feeding America national network of 200 food banks. Each year, Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare distribute enough food to provide more than 32 million meals through a network of 1,000 community-based hunger-relief programs, including food pantries, community meal sites, emergency shelters, residential and other community programs.

Food deserts are a major issue in Connecticut, Hartford, the largest of Connecticut cities in terms of population, ranks the 8th worst food desert in the United States, based on USDA survey data. Food insecurity is the lack of accessibility to food, particularly fresh produce.

Data Sources

Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Matthew P. Rabbitt, Christian A. Gregory, and Anita Singh. 2018. Household Food Security in the United States in 2017, ERR-256, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Social Determinants of Health. Healthy People 2020. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health. Accessed January 24, 2017.

Definitions of Food Security. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security/#ranges Updated September 5, 2018. Accessed September 24, 2018.

"What Is Food Insecurity in America?" Hunger and Health. https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/understand-food-insecurity. Accessed April 02, 2019.