Research Article| Volume 55, ISSUE 3, P182-190, March 2023

Estimating the Number, Distribution, and Predictors of Food Pantries in the US

Published:January 26, 2023DOI:



      To estimate the number, distribution, and predictors of food pantries across counties in the US in 2020.


      A cross-sectional, secondary data analysis of geocoded food pantry locations and social, demographic, and economic characteristics at the county level.


      Publicly disclosed food pantry locations were collected from websites in all counties. Pantry locations were merged with data from the American Community Survey 2015–2019.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The number of food pantries per county.


      A negative binomial regression estimated the association between the number of pantries per county and community characteristics.


      We found 48,581 food pantries from publicly disclosed websites, covering 98% of counties. The mean and median number of pantries per county were 15.5 and 6, respectively. Selected characteristics positively associated with the number of pantries per county were income inequality, percentage of noncitizens, and percentage of single-parent households. Selected characteristics negatively associated with the number of pantries per county were percent with a high school education or less, percent of households in poverty, and rurality.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The US has an extensive network of food pantries. Future work could assess the potential causal pathways between pantry placement and county-level characteristics.

      Key Words

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