USDA Releases Food Desert Locator
“Food deserts” are low income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store or supermarket. To draw attention to these neighborhoods, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) just released a “Food Desert Locator” map at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/.
More specifically, the USDA defines a Food Desert as a low-income census tract where either a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. “Low income” tracts are defined as those where at least 20 percent of the people have income at or below the federal poverty levels for family size, or where median family income for the tract is at or below 80 percent of the surrounding area’s median family income. Tracts qualify as “low access” tracts if at least 500 persons or 33 percent of their population live more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).
For more information about the USDA’s release of the Food Desert Locator, and for their online media kit, go to http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2011%2F05%2F0191.xml.