NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana had nearly the highest rate of residents who struggled to put food on the table to feed their families last year, a new Gallup Well-Being poll shows.
Twenty-three percent of Louisianans said at least one time in 2013 they didn't "have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed," the poll found.
Mississippi had the highest rate of residents who struggle to afford food -- at 25.1 percent; Louisiana tied West Virginia for the dubious distinction of being near the bottom of the list.
Rounding out the bottom were other neighbors of Louisiana. Alabama had a 22.9-percent rate of residents who reported there was an instance in 2013 where they struggled to buy food, followed by Arkansas with a rate of 22.3 percent.
Including Louisiana, those at the bottom of the list are frequent vistors since Gallup started tracking the ability to afford food in 2008.
"Alabama has been among the 10 states most likely to report struggling to afford food in each of the six years Gallup and Healthways have tracked this measure. Louisiana, Arkansas, and Georgia are also frequent visitors on this list, with each state appearing five times since tracking began. Other repeat states among the 10 most likely to report struggling to afford food are West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Oklahoma -- each making the list four of the last six years. This is the first time Arizona has been among the 10 states reporting the highest percentage of residents who struggled to afford food," said Rebecca Riffkin, who wrote a synopsis for Gallup.
Southern states had the highest percentage of residents who lacked the money to buy food, while the Midwest had the lowest rates.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alaska, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Iowa had the lowest rates -- 11, 11.3, 11.6 and 12.3 percent respectively -- of residents struggling to afford to buy food in 2013.
Gallup interviewed more than 178,000 adults in the U.S. in 2013 to complete the study.