Special Report

States Where Single People Pay the Most for Food

Methodology 

To determine the states with the highest food costs for a single person, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Economic Policy Institute’s 2022 Family Budget Calculator.

In the Family Budget Calculator, the EPI estimates the annual food budget necessary for families to maintain a modest yet adequate standard of living. The budgets are created for 10 family types for U.S. counties and metro areas. We used estimates for a single person with no children.

State-level food cost estimates are aggregated from the county level using five-year estimates of total households from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

States were ranked based on the EPI’s annual food cost estimates. The food insecurity rate – or the share of the population that lacks adequate access to food – is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. 

Additional information on median household income and the share of households that receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps – are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Because the Census Bureau did not release one-year estimates for 2020 due to data collection issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all ACS data are five-year estimates.

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