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Retail Wastelands: Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts

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  • Dutko, Paula
  • Ver Ploeg, Michele
  • Farrigan, Tracey L.

Abstract

Applying a census tract-level definition of food deserts, areas with limited access to affordable and healthy food, ERS has identified over 6,500 food desert tracts in the U.S. based on data from the 2000 Census of the Population. In this report, we examine the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of these tracts to see how they differ from other tracts. We describe the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of food desert census tracts compared with all other census tracts and how these tract characteristics have changed over time. Then, using multivariate logit analysis and data from the 1990 Census and 2000 Census, we attempt to isolate which characteristics separate food desert tracts from other low-income census tracts, to help distinguish areas that are vulnerable to low access problems in the future. Descriptive results indicate that relative to all other census tracts, food desert tracts tend to have smaller populations, higher rates of abandoned or vacant homes and residents with lower levels of education, lower incomes, and lower labor force participation. Multivariate analysis indicates that census tracts with higher poverty rates are more likely to be food deserts than otherwise similar low-income census tracts in rural and in very dense urban areas. For less dense urban areas, census tracts with higher concentrations of minority populations are more likely to be food deserts, while tracts with substantial decreases in minority populations between 1990 and 2000 were less likely to be food deserts in 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • Dutko, Paula & Ver Ploeg, Michele & Farrigan, Tracey L., 2012. "Retail Wastelands: Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 123201, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaeafe:123201
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/123201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Romich, Jennifer L. & Weisner, Thomas, 2000. "How Families View and Use the EITC: Advance Payment Versus Lump Sum Delivery," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1245-1266, December.
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    6. Andrew Goodman-Bacon & Leslie McGranahan, 2008. "How do EITC recipients spend their refunds?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 17-32.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zeng, Di & Thomsen, Michael R. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. Jr., 2015. "Food Desert and Weight Outcome: Disentangling Confounding Mechanisms," 2016 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2016, San Francisco, California 212813, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Dutko, Paula & Snyder, Samantha D. & Kaufman, Phillip R. & Breneman, Vincent E. & Williams, Ryan Blake & Dicken, Chris, 2012. "Enhanced Data and Methods for Estimating Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food for Population Characteristics," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124703, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    Keywords

    Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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