10 Places Where Grocery Shopping Is Most Costly

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A woman shops for bread at the grocery store.
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Inflation has hit many U.S. households hard over the last few years. Americans feel it, and the numbers reflect it.

The Census Bureau collects data on household food spending in the largest metropolitan areas using their Household Pulse Survey.

Their recent data shows Americans nationally spend an average of $270.21 a week on groceries and $109.21 a week on prepared foods via eating out, delivery services, and so on, as of October 2023.

Using the Census Bureau’s data, we’ve compiled a list of the major metro areas where residents spend the most on groceries.

Did your hometown make the list?

10. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Fulton County Georgia
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $277.54 per week
  • In this state: $278.32 per week

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $123.99 per week
  • In this state: $104.87 per week

Local reporting in Atlanta describes just how needed food assistance is in the city. Some organizations are trying to provide it. In March, there was a food giveaway at the Latin American Association.

Organizers were out providing free food to those in need. While the giveaway was meant to run from noon until 2 p.m., they had to start turning community members away at 12:30 p.m.

All the food was already gone.

9. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

Chicago skyline
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $278.91
  • In this state: $269.47

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $113.24
  • In this state: $107.87

Many Chicago residents have experienced food insecurity — which is when people don’t have access to necessary food, often but not always for financial reasons. Like in Atlanta, members of the community are doing what they can to fix it.

In March, Chicago businessman Willie Wilson gave away $25 coupons to half a dozen area grocery stores. And in February, Chicago Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed permanently eliminating the 1% sales tax the city currently levies on groceries.

8. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Dallas, Texas
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $282.21
  • In this state: $286.19

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $127.16
  • In this state: $118.37

Not only are prices in Dallas higher than other major U.S. metros, but its food deserts are growing. According to reporting, the city of Dallas says 36% of city residents live in a food desert.

Food deserts are areas where residents have limited access to affordable and healthy food, typically because there’s a lack of nearby grocery stores — if there are any at all.

7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $282.60
  • In this state: $266.40

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $132.44
  • In this state: $112.87

The inaccessibility of food in New York has led to bipartisan support for raising SNAP benefits (previously referred to as food stamps) and other food assistance programs.

Private companies are getting involved too. At the start of 2024, New Jersey-based health insurance group Fidelis Care announced its intention to distribute $315,000 in grants to fund 20 organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity in New York.

6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle skyline
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $289.23
  • In this state: $287.67

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $120.26
  • In this state: $106.18

Seattle food bank visits jumped by 63% in 2023. According to Food Lifeline, a local nonprofit, 1.6 million families in the city faced food insecurity last year. Not only is this increase a problem in and of itself, but it also means that donations to Food Lifeline have slowed down since fewer residents can provide support.

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Highway traffic in Los Angeles, California
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $295.33
  • In this state: $297.72

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $147.00
  • In this state: $131.51

The University of Southern California found that 30% of Los Angeles County residents faced food insecurity in 2023 — a 6-percentage-point jump from 2022.

The surge was exacerbated for low-income communities, where food insecurity jumped from 37% in 2022 to 44% in July 2023.

4. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

San Francisco, home to Minerva University, which is virtual and has no campus
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $298.44
  • In this state: $297.72

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $141.48
  • In this state: $131.51

The San Francisco government estimated that 1 in 4 city and county residents were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. That number increases exponentially for single-parent households, about 87% of which are food insecure.

3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $300.50
  • In this state: $297.72

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $118.80
  • In this state: $131.51

Even though California produces nearly half of the country’s fruits and vegetables, nonprofit CalMatters reports that about 1 in 5 residents are food insecure.

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, which serves Riverside area residents, says that before the COVID-19 pandemic, they served 150,000 people per month. In 2023, they served more than 270,000 residents per month, on average.

2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Memorial Park in Houston, Texas
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $302.65
  • In this state: $286.19

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $128.78
  • In this state: $118.37

The Houston Food Bank says that many food-insecure residents are forced to choose between buying groceries or other essentials.

According to their report, more than half of those residents have had to choose to pay their utility bills, rent or mortgage and transportation expenses over buying groceries.

To make up for it, many water down their foods and drinks to spread out how long their groceries last. Seventy-nine percent purchase less-nutritious foods to help cut costs as well.

1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Miami, Florida
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The average household grocery spending for adults in this metro area:

  • In this city: $327.89
  • In this state: $287.27

The average spending on dining out, takeout or delivery:

  • In this city: $140.87
  • In this state: $109.68

Feeding South Florida serves 25% of the area’s food-insecure residents. But food insecurity rose so much that in 2023 they faced a $500,000 shortfall in food that’s used to support the community.

Typically, with just $1 the organization could provide nine meals. As of 2023, that same amount provides about four.

In February 2024, the Miami Dolphins even got involved in food assistance programs and collaborated with others in the area to provide more than 500 meals to the community.

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