Closing the Grocery Store Gap in the Nation's Capital

Jun 6, 2017

Many thousands of people who live in the nation's capital do not have adequate access to healthy and affordable food. In fact, 1 in 7 households in Washington, D.C., is food insecure. The majority of these residents is African American and lives in Wards 7 and 8, which have the highest poverty rates in the city and a paucity of full-service grocery stores.

A review of the grocery store landscape conducted in the spring of 2016 by D.C. Hunger Solutions revealed that of the 49 full-service grocery stores in the District, there are only two in Ward 7 andjust one in Ward 8. This represents a decline in the number of stores in each of these wardssince D.C. Hunger Solutions last analyzed access to grocery stores in the District in 2010. At thattime, there were four full-service grocery stores in Ward 7 and three in Ward 8.

These numbers stand in sharp contrast to the number of stores located in higher-income wards, most of which have seven or more full-service grocery stores. This disparity reflects both the growing economic and racial inequality in the city and the shortfalls in the District's efforts to solvethe problem. This disparity also exacerbates food insecurity and poor health outcomes for theDistrict's most vulnerable residents.

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