Food Deserts By Census Tract 2010

Current static map

Low income census tracts more than 1 mile from the nearest supermarket

Access to Food

Food environments refer to homes, schools, stores, restaurants, community gardens, soup kitchens, food banks and other physical settings where the cost and availability of food influence what people eat. [1]

Why is a community’s food environment important?
Limited access to affordable and healthy foods may make it harder for some residents to eat a healthy diet

What factors can influence a community’s food environment?

  • Proximity to grocery stores and restaurants
  • Availability of local food
  • Food prices
  • Food and nutrition assistance program participation
  • Food insecurity
  • Demographics
  • Income and poverty

What are common socioeconomic characteristics of communities with low access to food? [2]

  • Greater concentration of all minorities, including Hispanics
  • Lower levels of education (less than a high school degree)
  • Living in poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Use of public assistance
  • No vehicle availability

What barriers prevent those living in communities with limited access from choosing healthier foods? [3]

  • Small grocery or convenience stores may not carry all the foods needs for a healthy diet
  • Healthy food offered by small grocery or convenience stores are often priced higher than at supermarkets and large grocery stores
  • Poor quality fresh foods are available at smaller grocery stores
  • Higher concentration of fast food restaurants

What steps can be made to improve a neighborhood’s food environment? [3]

  • Create community gardens
  • Open farmers’ markets
  • Expand public transportation routes
  • Expand food options at smaller local grocery shops

1. John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Teaching the Food System
2. Economic Research Service. Access to affordable and nutritious food: Measuring and understanding food deserts and their consequences. U.S. Department of Agriculture, June 2009.
3. McCann, B. Community design for healthy eating: How land use and transportation solution can help. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fall 2006.

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Sources and Resources

American Planning Association, Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems

CDC, A look inside Food deserts

CDC, Healthy Food Environment

Community Design for Healthy Eating

Let?s Move Campaign

Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments

USDA, Economic Research Service Food Access Publications

USDA, Food Access Research Atlas

USDA, Food Environment Atlas