An Oasis or Mirage: Analyzing food retailing options in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area, Missouri-Illinois, USA

Authors: Stacey Brown Amilian*, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Topics: Applied Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Economic Geography
Keywords: Food, GIS, dollar stores
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 5
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Accessibility to healthy food has been shown to improve overall health of residents as well as enhance neighborhood cohesion. However, many communities lack food options and are labeled as food deserts. Therefore, this research analyzes the locations of food deserts along with grocery and dollar stores in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. There has been a proliferation of dollar stores in the last few years that have shown to “exacerbate economic and public health disparities” along with concern about market cannibalization. The lack of profitability for grocery stores deters locating in low income areas. The St. Louis MSA as a study area includes high incomes, low incomes, minorities and immigrant communities, along with multiple food deserts. Results reveal that the majority of neighborhoods labeled as food deserts are missing all types of food retailers, including the dollar stores. In addition, grocery stores as well as dollar stores do not seem to be locating in low-income areas or locating in high income areas. Additional research is needed to understand how residents in food deserts obtain healthy food. Future research will also evaluate health characteristics such as hospitalization rates for diabetes and cardiovascular disease of residents living in food desert neighborhoods.

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