Inflation is surging in the United States – in large part because of rising food prices. In cities across the country, food today is 8% more expensive on average than it was a year ago, and American families are feeling the pinch.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family of four – two adults and two children – can expect to pay an estimated $9,835 on food in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and despite rising costs, there are many major metropolitan areas where families are paying thousands less than the estimated national average for food. Here is a look at the countries with the most and least affordable groceries.
Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 U.S. metro areas where families pay the least for food. Metro areas are ranked on estimated food expenditure in 2022, assuming a nutritionally adequate diet for two adults and two children, where almost all food is bought at a grocery store and prepared at home.
In metro areas with the same estimated annual food cost, the metro area with the lower food insecurity rate – defined as the share of the population not able to always afford or otherwise access well-balanced meals – ranks better.
Among the metro areas on this list, estimated annual food costs range from $8,529 down to $7,016. The majority of metro areas on this list are in the South, including 14 in Texas alone. Lower food costs in these places are often a reflection of what residents can afford. Every metro area on this list has a lower median family income than the national average of $80,069. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state.
For many families in these metro areas, food costs are not sufficiently low to offset low incomes, as in the majority of these places, the share of households receiving government assistance to afford groceries in the form of SNAP benefits, or Food Stamps, exceeds the national recipiency rate of 12.1%.
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