Out of the Desert, Into the Swamp? Spatial Assimilation and Exposure to Food Environments Among Hispanics

Rachel Bacon , Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer Van Hook, Pennsylvania State University

One of the significant demographic shifts in the U.S. in recent decades has been the growth, diversification, and geographic dispersion of the Hispanic population. In this paper, we ask how the spatial dispersion and residential integration of Hispanics is related to their food environments. We find that Hispanics who live in more integrated, middle-income neighborhoods, and those in new destinations, are less likely to live in close proximity to “Hispanic” food outlets and grocery stores/supermarkets, but are also more likely to live in a location with a lower density of fast food restaurants and convenience stores. On balance, however, the ratio of fast food/convenience stores to grocery/supermarkets is greater in more integrated and affluent neighborhoods. Overall, the results suggest that as Hispanics become more spatially and socially integrated, they become more likely to live in residential neighborhoods that contain fewer stores and which are spatially separate from business districts.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization