One in four people living in Mississippi have struggled to afford food for themselves or their families in the past year, a new Gallup poll released Tuesday showed. Residents of Alabama and Delaware were not far behind, with over 20 percent having a hard time putting the basics on the table.
"Residents of states in the Southeast and Southwest regions are the most likely in the country to struggle to afford food. Those living in the Mountain Plains and Midwest regions are the least likely to experience food hardship," the Gallup poll results stated.
According to the poll results, one in five Americans in 15 states struggled to afford adequate food at least once in the last 12 months. So far this year, 18.2 percent of Americans fit this description.
Over 22 percent of Mississippi, Alabama and Delaware residents had problems buying adequate food in the last 12 months. Additionally, over 20 percent of Georgia, Nevada, Arkansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Louisiana residents fell into this category.
Americans still struggling under the weight of the economic downturn may face even harder times ahead, as this year's drought could drive up food prices, making it more difficult for people to afford food in 2013.
"While Americans are no more likely to struggle to afford food thus far in 2012 than in the past, more residents may face problems as the drought-related crop damage results in a shortage of inputs in the food supply and begins to affect retail prices," Gallup said.
Price increases for beef, pork, poultry and dairy will be felt soonest, perhaps within the next two months. However, processed and packaged foods will not see an increase for another 10-12 months.
The states with the fewest issues paying for food were in the Midwest and Northeast - North and South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Minnesota all had below 13 percent of their residents struggling to pay for adequate food supplies.
Residents of these farming states will likely have better access to cheap food, dulling the impact of the worst drought since the 1950's.
In the next year, "states in the Mountain Plains and Midwest regions, which have the largest corn yield in the nation, will likely continue to have the lowest percentages of residents who lack enough money to buy food," Gallup said.
"Those in the South will likely be hardest hit, as they are already the most likely in the nation to report struggling to afford food," it added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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