Food deserts are more common in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Food insecurity has become a common spread throughout the natural state, and lack of access to fresh, healthy food may be one of the main reasons.

According to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, in more than one in four census tracts in Arkansas, 50% or more of the local population had poor access to healthy food sources in 2019.

“There are communities across the state where people looking for healthy groceries don’t have options,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. “In these neighborhoods, the only local food sources may be gas stations or fast food restaurants. People experiencing poverty are particularly likely to be affected by the lack of healthy food in their communities, and soaring food and fuel prices over the past year have exacerbated the challenges these people face. are confronted.

Some of the most notable findings are:

  • In 26% of Arkansas census tracts for which data is available (136 of 526), ​​at least 50% of the population had low access to healthy food sources in 2019.
  • In 2019, at least 358 of Arkansas’ 686 census tracts were low-access, defined as an area in which at least 500 people, or 33% of the population, lived more than a mile from the major grocery store. closer in an urban area. or more than 10 miles from the nearest large grocery store in a rural area.
  • In 2019, at least 171 of Arkansas’s 686 census tracts were both low-access and low-income, meaning they met the definition of low-access above and had a poverty rate of 20% or more or a median family income. less than 80% of Arkansas or local metro area median family income (if applicable).
  • There were just 1.7 grocery or fresh produce vendors per 10,000 people in Arkansas in 2019, below the national average of 2.1 per 10,000.

You can read more about the ACHI study by clicking here.

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