Metro Areas Where Families Pay the Most for Food

Inflation is surging in the United States – in large part because of rising food prices. In cities across the country, food today is 8% more expensive on average than it was a year ago, and American families are feeling the pinch.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family of four – two adults and two children – can expect to pay an estimated $9,835 on food in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, families are paying thousands more than the estimated national average for food. Here is a look at the countries with the most and least affordable groceries. 

Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 U.S. metro areas where families pay the most for food. Metro areas are ranked on estimated food expenditure in 2022, assuming a nutritionally adequate diet for two adults and two children, where almost all food is bought at a grocery store and prepared at home.

In metro areas with the same estimated annual food cost, the metro area with the higher food insecurity rate – defined as the share of the population not able to always afford or otherwise access well-balanced meals – ranks worse. 

Among the metro areas on this list, estimated annual food costs range from about $10,500 to over $15,000. The largest share of metro areas on this list are in the Northeast, though California alone is home to nine, the most of any state. Higher food costs in these places are often a reflection of what residents can afford. Most metro areas on this list have a higher median family income than the national average of $80,069. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state

For many families in these metro areas, high incomes are usually enough to offset higher food costs as in the majority of these places, the share of households receiving government assistance to afford groceries in the form of SNAP benefits, or Food Stamps, is below the national recipiency rate of 12.1%.

Click here to see the metros where families pay the most for food
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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