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Abstract

Accessing affordable and nutritious food is a challenge for many Americans. In 2015, an estimated 12.7 percent of U.S. census tracts were “low-income” (defined by the poverty rate or median family income of a tract) and had a significant number or share of the population with limited access to food stores (supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store). This report provides 2015 estimates of foodstore access for various characteristics of the population. These estimates are also produced separately for urban and rural areas. For the first time, this report also summarizes census tract measures of foodstore access by State, metropolitan, and micropolitan areas. Overall, 34 percent of SNAP households lived more than 1 mile from a food store in 2015. The median distance to the nearest three food stores for children, working-age adults, and seniors was 1.86 miles. For a majority of States, the number of low-income (LI) census tracts increased between 2010 and 2015 while the number of low-access (LA) census tracts decreased. When both components were combined, 21 States saw either a decrease in the number of low-income and low-access (LILA) census tracts or little change between 2010 and 2015.

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