Special Report

The City With the Most Expensive Groceries in Every State

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 most states, there is at least one metropolitan area where consumers are paying more than the 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 metro area in every state where people pay 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.

It is important to note that four states – Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – each have only one metro area. As a result, the metro area in these places ranks as having the highest food costs by default only. 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 as having higher food costs. 

Among the metro areas on this list, estimated annual food costs range from about $3,050 to over $5,000. In several metro areas on this list, food costs are lower than the statewide average. However, in a far larger share of metro areas on this list, food costs exceed the statewide average by over $200. 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 comparable statewide median. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state.

Click here to see the metro where single people pay the most for food in every state
Click here for our detailed methodology

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