After several years of fairly continuous improvement (reductions) in the food hardship rate as the nation recovered from the recession (e.g., the national rate fell in 2014, 2015, and 2016), the food hardship rate rose from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. Households with children are particularly vulnerable to hunger — their food hardship rate nationally is approximately one-third higher than the rate for households without children, and jumped to 18.4 percent in 2017, from 17.5 percent in 2016. In every part of the nation, substantial numbers of households are struggling with hunger. At least 1 in 7 households suffered from food hardship in 2016–2017 in 24 states and the District of Columbia; and in 63 out of 108 MSAs in the study. The Southwest region (as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, or FNS) overtook the Southeast region in 2017 as the region with the highest rate of food hardship. The rise in the national rate in 2017 is significant. After the height of the recession, the national food hardship rate had fallen from nearly 18.9 percent in 2013 to 15.1 percent in 2016.