A new food access study shows an increase in food insecurity in Minnehaha County.

As many as 17% of children in Minnehaha County are food insecure, according to a new food access study by Augustana Research Institute on behalf of Sioux Falls Thrive. That’s nearly a four-point increase from the original study commissioned in 2018.

It’s also somewhat higher than most recent national averages. According to the study, Feeding America estimates 14.8% of households with children nationwide experience food insecurity.


Given recent dramatic economic and demographic changes, Thrive commissioned a refresh of its 2018 survey “Food Security & Food Systems in Sioux Falls, SD.” The update, released in May 2022, provides a new demographic analysis, and identifies Census tracts in Sioux Falls that meet the criteria to be labeled food deserts. These are geographic areas where a significant number of people experience limited incomes and access to supermarkets.

In addition, the new food access study includes results of a food availability and price survey of 151 retail stores. Information was gathered by the team at Augustana Research Institute in Sioux Falls.

With everything that is going on in the world right now — the Covid-19 pandemic, armed conflict in Ukraine, bird flu, recalls of infant formula, closing of two grocery retailers in Sioux Falls — it was clear to Thrive’s Food Security Action team that we needed to look again at the issues of food insecurity right here at home.

Michelle Erpenbach

President, Sioux Falls Thrive

Nearly 25,000 People in Food Deserts

Using a 1‐mile criterion for low access, the new food access study indicates that a significant portion of the northwest area of Sioux Falls is a low-income, low‐access area, i.e., a food desert. In total, an estimated 24,603 people in Sioux Falls live in food desert Census tracts. Nearly all residents in these neighborhoods — an estimated 21,808 people — live a mile or more from the nearest supermarket.

The new food access study results and analysis include a series of detailed maps showing food insecurity by household characteristics including whether children live in the home, race/ethnicity, income, and geographic location.

The maps are also available in an interactive format located on the Augustana Research Institute, available through the button below.


Whether you need food assistance, or want to volunteer, siouxfallshunger.com is a one-stop resource for fighting hunger in the Sioux Falls area.

This report originally posted June 5, 2022.

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