More than 68 percent of Mississippi parents having trouble finding formula

Published 6:58 am Thursday, January 19, 2023

More than 68 percent of Mississippi parents having trouble finding formula

Mississippi parents are having the most trouble finding baby formula.

More than 68 percent of Mississippi households with an infant under the age of one reported difficulty getting baby formula in December 2022, according to the new study from This highest rate in the U.S. represents more than 58,000 parents.

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HelpAdvisor’s research team analyzed U.S. Census Pulse Survey data from December for the study.

Key findings

• Nationally, 27 percent of households with a child under the age of one had problems obtaining baby formula for the month.

• More than 50 percent of households in Kansas, West Virginia, Nebraska and Arizona also had trouble finding formula.

• In 18 states, at least one-third of households struggled in the same way.

Study overview

Amid a supply chain shortage that impacted everything from hot sauce and bicycles to chlorine, there is one item affected by the supply chain that millions of parents and their young babies can’t do without.

  • Baby formula shortages have created dire situations for many families.
  • The survey analysis found more than a quarter of households with an infant under the age of one reported difficulty obtaining baby formula in December.
  • In some states, more than half of households with an infant under the age of one reported difficulty finding formula.
  • In addition to having trouble finding formula, a significant number of households reported having no more than a one-week supply of formula on hand. Nationwide, 64.5 percent of households with an infant under the age of one had a one-week supply or less of formula on hand.

In Wyoming, 92 percent of households had no more than a week’s supply of formula on hand. Other states with high rates include:

• North Carolina (89.5%)

• Montana (85%)

• Missouri (84.1%)

• Alaska (83.9%)

• Georgia (83.1%)

• Michigan (80.9%)

• New Hampshire (80.1%)

Reasons for the shortage

The baby formula shortage can be attributed at least in part to several intersecting factors.

• Breastfeeding rates fell during the pandemic, as many new mothers were unable to get the assistance needed to breastfeed successfully due to Covid-19 restrictions, opening the door for an increased demand for formula. This was exacerbated by families who stockpiled formula and other supplies during the pandemic’s early panic buying, which similarly impacted supplies of toilet paper and other household items.

• Increased birth rates during the pandemic led to the “first major reversal in declining U.S. fertility rates since 2007.”

• In February 2022, the Abbott Nutrition manufacturing plant in Michigan was shut down by the FDA after reports of bacterial infections surfaced. The plant was responsible for the production of more than 40 percent of the baby formula market share in the U.S. and was one of just three companies who produce nearly all the baby formula in the U.S. When the plant ceased operations, it left a sizeable hole in the supply chain in its wake.

• While the U.S. produces nearly all its own formula, some of the ingredients needed to do so are imported from other countries and were subject to the same pandemic-related supply chain problems experienced worldwide.

• High tariffs and trade restrictions make it difficult and expensive to import infant formula, discouraging foreign suppliers from entering the U.S. market and filling the gap. The U.S. produces approximately 98% of its own infant formula.

Finding solutions

The U.S. has secured commitments to import millions of bottles of formula since May of 2022. The Abbott Nutrition plant reopened its doors in July and resumed production of its products. The Defense Production Act includes improved access to key materials for formula manufacturers. Operation Fly Formula was initiated to pick up overseas formula and transport it to the U.S., thereby speeding up importation and distribution.


The Free Formula Exchange may be of help to anyone having trouble obtaining baby formula or other necessary infant care supplies, as well as local food banks. Search online at and