SCAN National Survey Spotlights Child Care, Food Insecurity Crises Confronting Rural America

January 3, 2023

Post-midterm survey also includes groundbreaking insights into rural attitudes on hunger and child care solutions

January 3, 2023 – National survey results released today by Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), and featured in Fortune Magazine, illustrate profound food insecurity and child care challenges confronting rural Americans. The data, fielded by Republican and Democratic pollsters, also points to popular solutions that carry ramifications impacting both the quality of life of millions of Americans and the national economy at the start of a new Congress. “While this data may appear shocking, it reflects the voices of advocates and volunteers Save the Children Action Network is hearing from every day across America. Congress and state legislatures have taken incremental steps to provide relief on child care and hunger but more must be done to address the scale of the crisis we see in these numbers. From boosting rural development in the Farm bill to reviving the expanded child tax credit and increasing state and federal investments, rural families want to see bold leadership from their elected representatives in the new year. Whether it’s inside state legislatures or the halls of Congress, SCAN is prepared to champion broadly popular, bipartisan solutions that respond to the needs of children and families,” said Christy Gleason, Executive Director of SCAN. Notable Survey Results on Food Insecurity in Rural America:

  • The vast majority of rural Americans say that food prices are having a profound personal impact on them and others in their community – Nearly three-quarters of rural voters (72%) say they are changing how or what food they buy due to increasing grocery costs. Thirty-seven percent say they are struggling to afford to feed their family, and 64% say they or someone they know is struggling.
    • Half of parents (50%) say they are struggling to afford to feed their families, compared to 32% of non-parents.
  • More than 60% of rural voters are worried they might not be able to afford enough food to feed themselves and their families over the next year. Sixty-three (63) percent of all rural voters say they are worried, with nearly a quarter saying they are “very worried.”
    • Among parents, the proportion jumps to 77% who say they are worried they might not be able to afford enough food to feed their family.

Notable Survey Results on Child Care in Rural America:

  • Rural Americans believe that access to affordable, quality child care and early childhood education is increasingly out-of-reach for many families.
    • 55% say the availability of high-quality and affordable child care has gotten worse since the pandemic.
    • A majority (54%) of rural voters say there are only some or very few high-quality early education programs in their area that are also affordable for lower- or middle-income families.
  • Rural voters see child care as important for strengthening the economy. Overall, 70% of rural voters say it is “essential” or “very important” to strengthen the economy and help workers with an additional 25% saying it is somewhat important.
    • The percentage of voters who say it is essential or very important is 68 percent among Republicans, 64 percent among Independents, and 78 percent among Democrats.

Full survey results can be viewed by clicking here. Methodology The national survey was fielded November 9-20, 2022 by New Bridge Strategy (R) and Hart Research (D). It includes 1,006 completed interviews utilizing an online panel of American voters residing in rural counties who describe themselves as living in a rural area (72% of the sample) or a small town (28%). Rural counties are defined as those considered “mostly rural” or “completely rural” by the U.S. Census. Interviews were distributed proportionally across the country and quotas were set for key demographic subgroups, such as gender and age, based on census information. The credibility interval is +3.5% for the overall national sample; margins of error for population subgroups within the sample will be higher. Due to rounding, not all totals will sum to 100%.


Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) is the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, to be the political voice for kids. We work to ensure that the issues critical to children’s lives and futures are given top priority by our elected leaders, building bipartisan support to make sure every child has a strong start in life. Learn more about SCAN here: Press contact: Christopher Maloney,