Is the 'Cost of Enough Food' Lower in Rural Areas?
We develop and assess two inter-area cost-of-enough-food indices using nationally representative data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements on how much households say they would need to spend to just meet their food needs. We calculate the indices for 470 geographic areas identified by state, specific metropolitan statistical area (or nonmetropolitan), and central-city/balance-MSA residence. On average, the cost-of-enough-food is between 11 and 14 percent less for nonmetropolitan households than for otherwise similar metropolitan households. These findings suggest that differences in poverty rates generally overstate differences in material hardship experienced by households in rural areas versus urban areas.
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