Food Deserts

An Analysis of Food Deserts in Los Angeles

Using data on what food/grocery chains are open in certain council districts, we wanted to see if there was a discrepancy of locations for fresh food in council districts based on socio-economic or income status. In Disparities in access to fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, authors Dr. Algert, Aditya Agruwal, and Dr.Lewis discuss the discrepancies of access to food based on income and neighborhood. In lower income neighborhoods, access to fresh groceries typically is not in  “walking distance of a store with a variety of produce.” This is what creates the condition of a “food desert.” the USDA defines a food dessert as “Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some Americans to eat a healthy diet.”  We believe lack of access to fresh foods to support a healthy diet is a part of the condition of life quality. The USDA also goes on to define 3 main aspects, accessibility, individual, and neighborhood, it states:

  • Accessibility to sources of healthy food, as measured by distance to a store or by the number of stores in an area.
  • Individual-level resources that may affect accessibility, such as family income or vehicle availability.
  • Neighborhood-level indicators of resources, such as the average income of the neighborhood and the availability of public transportation (USDA).

From these visualizations we can see that income and council districts are variables in resident’s access to.

This bar chart shows the number of groceries related services by council districts in Los Angeles. Districts 14 and 9 seem to have the most grocery related services by far when compared to the rest. This is an interesting observation. Further research is required to explain why such an essential service is only concentrated in certain districts.

Using this map, each grocery store can be found in their respective districts in Los Angeles. This map should act as a resource to help locate grocery stores to those near their residence. When mapped, the data highlights the large amount of grocery stores in East LA, through districts 9 and 14, and the areas with fewer grocery resources in districts 3, 4, and 12.

Although the data we have may not reflect the research from our sources, we want to recognize that the way the data is organized a multitude of businesses under the term grocery store have been limited. This includes but is not limited to liquor stores, convenience stores, organic stores and grocery stores. What this means is that the maps and data supplied may not necessarily reflect a disparity due to the categorization of what ‘grocery’ means in the data set.