Change Indicator

Childhood food insecurity by county, 2020—2021 in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Children who are food insecure have trouble doing their best in school. Food insecurity can have lifelong impacts on children's physical health, mental health and earning potential.
Chronic food insecurity causes stress among children that alters their normal brain development.

For more information see,
Food insecurity affects well-being

What the data shows
In 2021, the Maine state rate of child food insecurity was 14.6%, down from 15.9% in 2020. Maine ranked last in New England in 2021.In 2021, there were 3,500 fewer children who were food insecure than in 2020, a total of 36,490 children, down from 39,990 the previous year.

In 2021, three Maine counties had rates of child food insecurity above 20%. These were the rural counties of Washington (21.5%, Piscataquis, (20.4%) and Somerset (20.1%).The counties with the lowest rates of childhood food insecurity in 2021 were: Cumberland,  York and Sagadahoc Counties- with rates of 10.4%, 12.2% and 12.4% respectively.
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Definition and Source



Children under age 18 living in households, where in the previous 12 months, there was an uncertainty of having, or an inability to acquire, enough food for all household members because of insufficient money or other resources.

Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

Data for 2020 and for 2021 are NOT directly comparable to data from any previous year due to methodological changes made in 2020. Adjustments were made to make reductions in rates where a high number of college students were present and to increase rates where high number of persons with disabilities (often older adults) live. 

Data Source

Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap   produced by Feeding America. 2021 data was released in July 2023.


Map the Meal Gap's child food insecurity rates are determined using data from the Current Population Survey on children under 18 years old in food insecure households; data from the  American Community Survey on median family incomes for households with children, child poverty rates, home ownership, and race and ethnic demographics among children; and  data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on unemployment rates.

Data in the state totals row do not reflect the sum of all counties in that state. The state totals are aggregated from the congressional districts data in that state.

Due to methodological changes, data for 2020 are NOT directly comparable to data from any previous year's  data due to methodological changes made in 2020. According to Feeding America, "Research shows that areas with high proportions of college students, poverty rates are overstated." A second change in methodology had to do with factoring in disability status into the model so areas with high levels of persons with disabilities show higher rates of food insecurity.

Last Updated

July 2023