The term “food desert” was coined to draw attention to the fact that some people live far from a source of healthy, affordable food. For these people, compared to those with easier access, consistently eating fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding convenience store and restaurant food is more difficult. Food deserts are more often found in poor neighborhoods, which is part of why the poor are more likely than people of other socioeconomic classes to be overweight and obese.
Over 2 percent of U.S. households, 2.3 million, live at least one mile from a grocery store and do not have a car (USDA). The map below depicts the percent of such households by county. In the darkest counties, over 10 percent of the households are isolated in a food desert:
Via Slate.Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.