Special Report

Cheapest Metros to Get Groceries

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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 single adult can expect to pay an estimated $3,404 on food in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and despite rising costs, there are many major metropolitan areas where Americans are paying far 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 with the lowest food costs. 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 lower food insecurity rate – defined as the share of the population not always able to afford or otherwise access well-balanced meals – ranks as having lower food costs. 

Among the metro areas on this list, estimated annual food costs range from $2,428 to $2,951. 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. Nearly every metro area on this list has a lower median household income than the national median of $64,994. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state

For many in these metro areas, food costs are not sufficiently low to offset the low incomes, as in the majority of these places, the share of residents receiving government assistance to afford groceries in the form of SNAP benefits, or food stamps, exceeds the national recipiency rate of 12.1%.

Click here to for the cheapest metro areas to get groceries
Click here to read our detailed methodology

50. Longview, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,951
> Median household income: $53,524 — 106th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 14.3% — 109th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.9% — 119th highest of 376 metros

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49. Columbus, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,947
> Median household income: $66,978 — 88th highest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 8.8% — 66th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.2% — 108th highest of 376 metros

Source: KathyKafka / iStock via Getty Images

48. Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,947
> Median household income: $54,726 — 123rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.7% — 44th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 6.4% — 153rd lowest of 376 metros

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47. Charleston, WV
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,946
> Median household income: $46,099 — 15th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 18.0% — 33rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.2% — 185th lowest of 376 metros

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46. Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,941
> Median household income: $47,525 — 26th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 16.3% — 66th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.2% — 106th highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

45. Evansville, IN-KY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,938
> Median household income: $55,553 — 145th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 9.9% — 109th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 4.3% — 59th lowest of 376 metros

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44. Jackson, MI
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,936
> Median household income: $54,511 — 121st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.5% — 177th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.0% — 74th highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

43. Elmira, NY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,936
> Median household income: $54,883 — 127th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 16.5% — 60th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 5.8% — 126th lowest of 376 metros

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images

42. St. Joseph, MO-KS
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,928
> Median household income: $53,298 — 101st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 11.9% — 178th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.5% — 173rd highest of 376 metros

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41. Springfield, OH
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,926
> Median household income: $51,504 — 76th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 18.6% — 26th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.8% — 57th highest of 376 metros

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40. Bay City, MI
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,926
> Median household income: $48,290 — 41st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 15.3% — 85th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.7% — 167th highest of 376 metros

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39. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,924
> Median household income: $49,706 — 54th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.6% — 173rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.9% — 55th highest of 376 metros

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38. Spartanburg, SC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,915
> Median household income: $53,757 — 112th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 10.4% — 131st lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 12.9% — 26th highest of 376 metros

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37. Sumter, SC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,915
> Median household income: $45,854 — 11th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 18.2% — 29th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 11.3% — 49th highest of 376 metros

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36. Saginaw, MI
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,915
> Median household income: $49,565 — 53rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 19.0% — 22nd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.4% — 67th highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

35. Odessa, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,915
> Median household income: $63,096 — 119th highest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.2% — 187th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 6.4% — 154th lowest of 376 metros

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34. Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,914
> Median household income: $48,085 — 35th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.9% — 38th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 5.6% — 118th lowest of 376 metros

33. Michigan City-La Porte, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,905
> Median household income: $57,010 — 161st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 11.9% — 177th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 11.7% — 43rd highest of 376 metros

32. Goldsboro, NC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,895
> Median household income: $47,221 — 25th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.1% — 51st highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.6% — 131st highest of 376 metros

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31. Corpus Christi, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,886
> Median household income: $56,714 — 157th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.1% — 50th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.7% — 61st highest of 376 metros

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30. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,885
> Median household income: $61,437 — 150th highest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.5% — 176th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.0% — 79th highest of 376 metros

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29. Muskegon, MI
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,884
> Median household income: $53,478 — 105th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 16.9% — 55th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 17.0% — 7th highest of 376 metros

28. Danville, IL
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,884
> Median household income: $46,842 — 24th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 16.3% — 67th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 5.7% — 124th lowest of 376 metros

27. Mansfield, OH
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,874
> Median household income: $49,186 — 47th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 15.8% — 77th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 11.4% — 46th highest of 376 metros

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26. Decatur, IL
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,874
> Median household income: $53,725 — 111th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.8% — 42nd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.4% — 181st highest of 376 metros

25. Elkhart-Goshen, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,874
> Median household income: $58,509 — 181st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 8.8% — 63rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.4% — 182nd highest of 376 metros

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24. Kokomo, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,864
> Median household income: $56,387 — 153rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 10.8% — 144th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.5% — 140th highest of 376 metros

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23. Sherman-Denison, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,864
> Median household income: $58,296 — 178th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 11.2% — 161st lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 7.9% — 162nd highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

22. Bowling Green, KY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,860
> Median household income: $51,591 — 81st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.9% — 167th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 4.5% — 66th lowest of 376 metros

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21. Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,859
> Median household income: $54,256 — 117th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 15.3% — 86th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.5% — 138th highest of 376 metros

20. Rocky Mount, NC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,858
> Median household income: $46,482 — 19th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 20.4% — 12th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 6.5% — 157th lowest of 376 metros

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19. Joplin, MO
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,854
> Median household income: $50,244 — 61st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 14.0% — 121st highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.9% — 120th highest of 376 metros

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18. San Angelo, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,853
> Median household income: $57,431 — 168th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 10.5% — 132nd lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 16.7% — 8th highest of 376 metros

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17. Jonesboro, AR
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,853
> Median household income: $47,610 — 28th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 13.9% — 124th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 10.7% — 59th highest of 376 metros

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16. Yuma, AZ
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,822
> Median household income: $48,790 — 45th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.8% — 41st highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.6% — 92nd highest of 376 metros

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15. College Station-Bryan, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,812
> Median household income: $51,261 — 74th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 10.3% — 128th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 11.7% — 44th highest of 376 metros

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14. El Centro, CA
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,812
> Median household income: $46,222 — 16th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 24.9% — 3rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.2% — 107th highest of 376 metros

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13. Lima, OH
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,812
> Median household income: $51,892 — 83rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 13.8% — 128th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 4.6% — 71st lowest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

12. Parkersburg-Vienna, WV
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,794
> Median household income: $48,369 — 43rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 16.8% — 56th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 6.2% — 143rd lowest of 376 metros

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11. Florence, SC
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,781
> Median household income: $45,037 — 9th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 17.7% — 43rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.4% — 101st highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

10. Terre Haute, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,768
> Median household income: $50,418 — 65th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 12.9% — 165th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.5% — 94th highest of 376 metros

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9. Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,751
> Median household income: $56,680 — 155th lowest of 376 metros (tied)
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 9.7% — 96th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.6% — 135th highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

8. Laredo, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,718
> Median household income: $50,296 — 63rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 25.0% — 2nd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 12.7% — 30th highest of 376 metros

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7. Muncie, IN
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,718
> Median household income: $45,910 — 12th lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 14.6% — 103rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 8.2% — 154th highest of 376 metros

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

6. Owensboro, KY
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,716
> Median household income: $54,946 — 133rd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 11.1% — 158th lowest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 4.1% — 52nd lowest of 376 metros

5. Killeen-Temple, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,704
> Median household income: $55,306 — 141st lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 13.4% — 147th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 13.4% — 22nd highest of 376 metros

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Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

4. Waco, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,656
> Median household income: $49,534 — 52nd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 13.0% — 159th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 19.2% — 4th highest of 376 metros

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images

3. Victoria, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,596
> Median household income: $58,629 — 182nd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 13.6% — 133rd highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 9.5% — 96th highest of 376 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

2. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,480
> Median household income: $41,846 — 2nd lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 28.9% — the highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 21.3% — the highest of 376 metros

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1. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX
> Est. annual food costs for single adult: $2,428
> Median household income: $41,200 — the lowest of 376 metros
> Food Stamp recipiency rate: 24.0% — 5th highest of 376 metros
> Food insecurity rate: 14.2% — 16th highest of 376 metros

Methodology 

To determine the metros with the lowest 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.

We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros.

Metros were ranked based on the EPI’s annual food cost estimates. Ties were broken based on the rate of food insecurity, areas with lower insecurity rate considered as having lower cost. 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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