Food Access Research Atlas - 2013

Food Access Research Atlas - 2013 - Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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. Expanding the availability of nutritious and affordable food by developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner markets and farmers’ markets in communities with limited access is an important part of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

There are many ways to define which areas are considered "food deserts" and many ways to measure food store access for individuals and for neighborhoods. 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.

In the Food Access Research Atlas, several options are available to describe food access along these dimensions.

Measures of food access

The Food Access Research Atlas maps food access indicators for census tracts using ½-mile and 1-mile demarcations to the nearest supermarket for urban areas, 10-mile and 20-mile demarcations to the nearest supermarket for rural areas, and vehicle availability for all tracts. Users of the Atlas can view census tracts by food access indicators using these different measures to see how the map changes as the distance demarcation or inclusion of vehicle access changes. The map includes updated estimates using 2015 data and allows users to compare these new estimates with those from 2010.

Food Access Research Atlas Documentation
Food Access Research Atlas Data Download

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Maintainer J. Albert Bowden II
Last Updated October 3, 2017, 06:09 (UTC)
Created March 16, 2017, 13:00 (UTC)