Report: Food deserts are more common in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Food insecurity has become a common spread across the Natural State, and a lack of access to fresh, healthy foods may be a key reason for that.
According to an Arkansas Center for Health Improvement analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, in more than one in four census tracts in Arkansas, 50% or more of the local population had low access to healthy food sources in 2019.
“There are communities across the state where individuals seeking healthy groceries have no options,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. “In these neighborhoods, the only local food sources may be gas stations or fast-food restaurants. People experiencing poverty are especially likely to be impacted by the lack of healthy foods in their communities, and surging food and gas costs in the past year have exacerbated the challenges these individuals face.”
Some of the most notable findings include the following:
- In 26% of Arkansas census tracts with available data (136 out of 526), at least 50% of the population had low access to healthy food sources in 2019.
- As of 2019, at least 358 of the 686 census tracts in Arkansas were low access, defined as a tract in which at least 500 people, or 33% of the population lived farther than one mile from the nearest large grocery store in an urban area or farther than 10 miles from the nearest large grocery store in a rural area.
- As of 2019, at least 171 of the 686 census tracts in Arkansas were both low-access and low-income, meaning that they met the definition of low-access above and had a poverty rate of 20% or higher or a median family income less than 80% of the median family income for Arkansas or the local metropolitan area (if applicable).
- There were only 1.7 grocery or produce vendors per 10,000 people in Arkansas in 2019, below the national average of 2.1 per 10,000.
You can find more on ACHI’s study by clicking here.
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