Special Report

The City With the Cheapest Groceries in Every State

Methodology

To determine the metro area with the lowest food costs for a single person in each state, 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.

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.

Metro areas were ranked based on the EPI’s annual food cost estimates. Ties were broken based on the rate of food insecurity. 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 didn’t 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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