TUCSON -- Children in the Southwest are especially vulnerable to hunger, according to a new study ranking New Mexico as having the highest rates of childhood hunger in the nation.
New Mexico is the most food-insecure state for youths in the nation, according to a report by Feeding America, a hunger relief charity and network of more than 200 food banks in the nation.
Arizona ranked third for childhood hunger, with Nevada at eighth place, Texas at ninth and California at twelfth.
As the summer months approach, just a fraction of the children will receive the free or reduced-price lunches that they normally get when school is in session, the study points out.
About 30% of the 512,460 children in New Mexico suffer from hunger, according to the report, which looked at data from the Consumer Population Survey and Bureau of Labor Statistics.