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Healthy Food Access In America

by Liam Johnson
Wednesday, August 05, 2015



The decisions people make about spending on food and diet are likely to be influenced by the accessibility and affordability of food retailers taking into consideration factors such as travel time to shopping, availability of healthy foods, and food prices. Some people and places, especially those with low income, may face greater barriers in accessing healthy and affordable food retailers, which may negatively affect diet and food security. Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some Americans to eat a healthy diet.

The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture is a national leader in measuring the people and places facing barriers to accessing healthy and affordable food and conducts research examining the consequences of food access limitations on food spending, diet, and health.

There are many ways to measure food store access for individuals and for neighborhoods, and many ways to define which areas are food deserts—neighborhoods that lack healthy food sources. Most measures and definitions take into account at least some of the following indicators of access:

  • Accessibility to sources of healthy food, as measured by distance to a store or by the number of stores in an area.
  • Individual-level resources that may affect accessibility, such as family income or vehicle availability.
  • Neighborhood-level indicators of resources, such as the average income of the neighborhood and the availability of public transportation.

We took a look at the latest data from the ERS and using criteria such as such as the number and share of people more than 1 mile to a supermarket in urban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas, we were able to extrapolate the neighborhoods most likely to have the least access to healthy food in the United States.



United States of America



308,745,538
Total Population
237,790,198
Urban Population
70,955,340
Rural Population


Population
Urbanization
Housing Units


21.64%
Rate of Total Population With Low Access
29.52%
Rate of Total Urban Population With Low Access
13.22%
Rate of Rural Population With Low Access


72,888,540
Population With Poor Acccess
67,556,876
Urban Population With Poor Acccess
5,348,697
Rural Population With Poor Acccess




1.48%
Population With No Vehicular Acccess
2.18%
Urban Population With No Vehicular Acccess
.78%
Rural Population With No Vehicular Acccess


25 (50%)

Number Of States With More Than The National Average of People With Poor Access

North Dakota (38.31%)

State With The Worst Record

New York (8.4%)

State With The Best Record


Texas (7,639,096)

State With The Highest Number of People With Poor Access

New Hampshire (46.88%)

State With The Worst Record for Urban Residents

North Dakota (50.55%)

State With The Worst Record for Rural Residents


Kids (Age 0-17)



66,795,686

Estimated Total Number of Kids In America (2010)

57,337,381

Estimated Total Number of Kids In Urban Residences In America (2010)

9,458,305

Estimated Total Number of Kids In Rural Residences In America (2010)


27.3%
Rate of Kids With Low Access
29.66%
Rate of Urban Kids With Low Access
12.97%
Rate of Rural Kids With Low Access


18,232,983
Population With Poor Acccess
17,006,061
Urban Population With Poor Acccess
1,226,922
Rural Population With Poor Acccess


Seniors (Age 65+)



35,916,493

Estimated Total Number of Seniors In America (2010)

29,286,654

Estimated Total Number of Seniors In Urban Residences In America (2010)

6,629,839

Estimated Total Number of Seniors In Rural Residences In America (2010)


26.36%
Rate of Seniors With Low Access
29.23%
Rate of Urban Seniors With Low Access
13.66%
Rate of Rural Seniors With Low Access


9,467,068
Population With Poor Acccess
8,561,267
Urban Population With Poor Acccess
905,801
Rural Population With Poor Acccess




Source: Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET

Source: O*NET