There are several large supermarkets and a Walmart that continues to gain momentum as the largest grocer in our small town, DuBois, Pennsylvania. Without hesitation, I would describe our community as being food distressed but was surprised to learn the United States Department of Agriculture classified the area as “food desert” (Ploeg and Breneman, 2015).
For a rural community of 8,000 residences there are 10 nationally recognized fast food franchises within two square miles but the classification of a food desert is based on meeting the government’s definition of low income and low access to food. The USDA classifies any region with a median household income of 80% or less than the state’s median household income (Ploeg and Breneman, 2015). The medium income for the area from 2009 – 2013 was $34,340, which is 65% percent of the state-wide median income $52,548 (Median household income (in 2013 dollars), 2009-2013, no date). Although the supermarkets are in close proximity to each other, more than 33% percent of residences live 10 or more miles away from the markets, therefore being categorized as a region with low access (Ploeg and Breneman, 2015).
Median household income (in 2013 dollars), 2009-2013 (no date) Available at: http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/INC110213/00,4220136,42 (Accessed: 24 September 2015).
Ploeg, M. V. and Breneman, V. (2015) USDA Economic Research Service - Go to the Atlas. Available at:http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx (Accessed: 24 September 2015).