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   USDA ERS County-Level Data Show Changes In The Number And Concentration Of Food Stores
by Alana Rhone, USDA ERS
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 4:36PM EDT

ERS’s Food Environment Atlas assembles statistics on over 275 food environment indicators at the county or State level that provide a spatial overview of factors that can influence food choices and diet quality. One set of indicators focuses on the number and density of different types of stores that sell food. The Atlas provides a county-level count—both in total and on a per capita basis—of four types of stores. Understanding the geographic distribution of different types of food stores in a county, and whether that distribution has changed over time, is important to the economic well-being of communities for reasons related to employment opportunities, tax revenues, as well as business development.

This county-level picture of the food retailing landscape also provides a starting point for measuring access to healthy, affordable food—a measure explored in more detail in another ERS mapping tool, the Food Access Research Atlas. The Food Access Research Atlas allows users to investigate multiple measures of access at the census tract level. These measures include a population’s distance from residence to a large grocery store, supermarket, or supercenter; household availability of a vehicle to drive to the stores; and the poverty rate and median family income for census tracts.

The four types of stores mapped in the Food Environment Atlas are:

To read the rest of the story, please go to: USDA ERS


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