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 5.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic put further strain on households already experiencing food hardship, with Feeding America estimating that 13 million children may experience food insecurity in 2021—that’s one in six children. 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.

| Check out more lists and rankings from across Tennessee

Stacker compiled a list of counties in Tennessee with the highest rate of food-insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by the highest percentage of children with food insecurity as of 2019.

#50. Crockett County

– Child food insecurity rate: 17.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 600
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 100.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 0.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 14.1%

#49. Henderson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 17.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,130
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 87.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 13.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.8%

#48. Cumberland County

– Child food insecurity rate: 17.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,870
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 100.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 1.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.0%

#47. Decatur County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 450
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 92.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 8.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.0%

#46. Meigs County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 460
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 72.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 28.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.5%

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#45. Houston County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 320
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 93.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 8.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.1%

#44. DeKalb County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 800
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 94.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 6.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.8%

#43. Sullivan County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 5,660
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 89.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 11.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.3%

#42. Dyer County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,670
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 85.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 15.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.4%

#41. Monroe County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,850
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.4%

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#40. McMinn County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,090
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 82.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 18.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.1%

#39. Grainger County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 880
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 88.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 12.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.2%

#38. Hardin County

– Child food insecurity rate: 18.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 990
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 90.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 10.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.0%

#37. McNairy County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,080
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 85.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 15.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.5%

#36. Weakley County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,240
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.7%

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#35. Unicoi County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 590
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 92.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 8.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.0%

#34. Wayne County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.3%
— Number of food insecure children: 590
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 84.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 16.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 15.9%

#33. Van Buren County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 210
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 100.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 0.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.9%

#32. Madison County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 4,290
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 54.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 46.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 12.9%

#31. Union County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 840
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.7%

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#30. Hardeman County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 960
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 71.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 29.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 14.2%

#29. Shelby County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 46,670
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 47.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 53.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 12.4%

#28. Lewis County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 520
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 87.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 13.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.0%

#27. Carroll County

– Child food insecurity rate: 19.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,180
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 82.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 19.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.3%

#26. Greene County

– Child food insecurity rate: 20.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,680
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 98.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 2.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.4%

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#25. Fentress County

– Child food insecurity rate: 20.3%
— Number of food insecure children: 780
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 99.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 1.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.7%

#24. Benton County

– Child food insecurity rate: 20.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 650
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 91.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 9.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.7%

#23. Morgan County

– Child food insecurity rate: 20.8%
— Number of food insecure children: 870
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 95.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 5.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.2%

#22. Grundy County

– Child food insecurity rate: 20.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 600
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 93.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 7.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 18.3%

#21. Rhea County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.0%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,590
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.0%

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#20. Carter County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,230
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 96.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 4.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 18.0%

#19. Jackson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 450
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 90.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 10.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.6%

#18. Clay County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.3%
— Number of food insecure children: 330
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 86.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.2%

#17. Claiborne County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.6%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,300
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 82.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 18.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 18.2%

#16. Obion County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,460
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 89.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 12.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.6%

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#15. Hawkins County

– Child food insecurity rate: 21.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,520
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 89.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 11.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.0%

#14. Henry County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.0%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,470
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 88.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 13.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 16.4%

#13. Warren County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.1%
— Number of food insecure children: 2,130
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 96.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 4.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.4%

#12. Sequatchie County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 680
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 81.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 19.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.5%

#11. Scott County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,190
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 95.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 5.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.6%

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#10. Haywood County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.5%
— Number of food insecure children: 900
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 64.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 36.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 14.5%

#9. Campbell County

– Child food insecurity rate: 22.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,860
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 90.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 10.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.0%

#8. Pickett County

– Child food insecurity rate: 23.0%
— Number of food insecure children: 210
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 85.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 15.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.0%

#7. Johnson County

– Child food insecurity rate: 23.3%
— Number of food insecure children: 700
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 82.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 18.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.8%

#6. Lauderdale County

– Child food insecurity rate: 23.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,400
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 78.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 22.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 17.3%

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#5. Perry County

– Child food insecurity rate: 23.9%
— Number of food insecure children: 420
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 83.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 17.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.2%

#4. Bledsoe County

– Child food insecurity rate: 24.7%
— Number of food insecure children: 700
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 76.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 24.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.6%

#3. Cocke County

– Child food insecurity rate: 25.2%
— Number of food insecure children: 1,840
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 93.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 7.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 19.1%

#2. Hancock County

– Child food insecurity rate: 27.4%
— Number of food insecure children: 380
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 87.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 14.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 21.8%

#1. Lake County

– Child food insecurity rate: 28.0%
— Number of food insecure children: 300
– Percentage of children in households with income below 185% FPL: 67.0%
– Percentage of children in households with income above 185% FPL: 33.0%
– Overall food insecurity rate: 20.5%