A recent report from The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a community development financial institution based in Philadelphia, found that many more Philadelphians live near a full-service grocery store compared to 10 years ago. In fact, the number of residents without access to a grocery store dropped 56 percent.
Nationwide, the number of residents without grocery access dropped 45 percent as compared to 10 years ago.
The report says that factors resulting in “limited access” to a full service grocery store include population density and transportation availability.
According to Miriam Manon at the Food Trust, the availability of state and private funds played a major role in Philadelphia’s improvements. For instance, a state-backed program called the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative invested millions in grocers, and TRF invested $54 million in Philadelphia between 2008 and 2011.
The report stated that shopping options improved the most in North and West Philadelphia.
Elsewhere in the state, Pittsburgh experienced a 42 percent reduction in residents lacking a nearby grocery store. The reduction was 71 percent in Reading, 86 percent in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and 16 percent in Lancaster.
The Harrisburg region remained stagnant, while about 6,000 Altoona residents actually lost access to a grocery store.