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Poor households in rural areas rely more on smaller grocery stores and supermarkets than do metro area households, and they may face higher average food prices and reduced access to food as a result. Net accessibility—a ratio of available large grocery store sales to potential food spending by households in a ZIP Code-based area— was found to be lower for a greater percentage of low-income households compared with all households in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Over 70 percent of the total low-income population (eligible to receive food stamp benefits) in the 36-county area suffered accessibility shortfalls, requiring trips of more than 30 miles to reach a large retailer. Smaller foodstores typically offer less variety, fewer lower cost foods, and higher food prices.


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