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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