Why does hunger exist in the United States? It isn't because there's not enough food to go around. Rather—at its root—food insecurity continues because of a variety of complex factors, such as the ones outlined below.

Food deserts. The USDA reports that 23.5 million people live in food deserts: low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (or 10 miles in rural areas), severely limiting access to fresh food. Don't own a car? Then getting to a grocery store is even more difficult. A lack of reliable public transportation can exacerbate the issue.

 

 

 

Incentivize corner stores and gas stations to stock fresh, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables offered at a low price.

 

 

 

 

Poverty and public policy. Insufficient income to regularly buy food is the leading cause of food insecurity. It prevents families from accessing enough food or healthy food. Governmental policy allows junk food made with high-fructose corn sugar and refined commodity crops to be less expensive than fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

Fortify governmental benefits, such as the SNAP program (formerly called food stamps) and allow SNAP to be accepted at good-food community events, like farmers’ markets. Policy should also provide grants to food banks to provide better job training for the unemployed.

 

 

 

Gender inequality. According to the USDA, 10.5 percent of households headed by a single woman were food insecure in 2016. Pew Research Center recently reported that women earn 83 percent of what men earn on the dollar.

 

 

 

Close the gender gap to alleviate the economic squeeze for single women, granting access to improved nutrition. Employers can offer paid maternity leave for new moms to lessen the struggle.