Special Report

Metro Areas Where Single People Pay the Most for Food

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 consumers are feeling the pinch.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a single adult can expect to pay an estimated $3,404 on food in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, consumers are paying thousands more 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 people the most for food. Metro areas are ranked on estimated food expenditure in 2022, assuming a nutritionally adequate diet for a single adult, 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 higher food insecurity rate – defined as the share of the population not always able to afford or otherwise access well-balanced meals – ranks higher. 

Among the metro areas on this list, estimated annual food costs range from about $3,600 to over $5,000. The largest share of metro areas on this list are in the Northeast, though California alone is home to nine, the most of any state. Higher food costs in these places are often a reflection of what residents can afford. Most metro areas on this list have a higher median household income than the national average of $64,994. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state

For many living in these metro areas, high incomes are usually enough to offset higher food costs as in the majority of these places, the share of households receiving government assistance in the form of SNAP benefits, or food stamps, is below the national recipiency rate of 12.1%.

Click here to see the metros where single people pay the most for food
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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