Detroit's Food Economy

25 Food Facts About Kids & Detroit

March 1, 2013

While researching our Back To Basics series, we came across numerous statistics about Detroit's food economy and it's impact on families of school age children. Here's a list of 25 of the most eye-opening data points and facts.

- More than half of Detroit residents live in areas that are far out-of-balance in terms of day-to-day food availability. (2007 - Gallagher)

- Only 8% of food stamp retailers in Detroit are full-service grocery stores. (2007 - Gallagher)

- 92% of food stamp retailers in Detroit are gas stations, dollar stores, convenience stores, liquor stores and pharmacies. Many of them do not comply with federal standards to accept food stamps. (2007 - Gallagher)

- Detroiters spend $200 million each year at grocery stores outside of the city. (2012 - Detroit Food Policy Council)

- Full-service grocers in Detroit provide an average of 1.59 sq. ft. of grocery retail space per capita. The nationwide industry standard is 3.0 sq. ft. per capita. (2010 - DFPC)

- The Detroit Food Policy Council estimates 30% of Detroiters are food insecure. (2010 - DFPC)

- Detroit Public Schools serves about 100,000 meals a day. (2012 - DFPC)

- Detroit Public Schools permanently turned off its deep fryers a few years ago. (2012 - DPS)

- All students at Detroit Public Schools are provided free meals. Michigan is one of three pilot states that allows universal meal access in high poverty areas. (2012 - DFPC)

- Last year 45 of Detroit's public schools were selected to begin growing vegetable gardens on site. (2012 - DPS)

- Poverty Threshold in 2011 was for Family of four (2 children) = $22,811 US Census Bureau (

- In 2009, communities such as Dearborn Heights, Saline, Bloomfield Hills and Sterling Heights each saw more than 50% increases in the number of people coming to the DHS for food assistance.

- Children who skip breakfast are less able to distinguish among similar images, show increased errors, and have slower memory recall. - Food Research & Action Center

Children experiencing hunger have lower math scores and are more likely to have to repeat a grade. - Food Research & Action Center

- Behavioral, emotional and academic problems are more prevalent among children with hunger. - Food Research & Action Center

- Children experiencing hunger are more likely to be hyperactive, absent and tardy, in addition to having behavioral and attention problems more often than other children. - Food Research & Action Center

- Children who are undernourished score lower on cognitive tests when they miss breakfast. - Food Research & Action Center

- Teens experiencing hunger are more likely to have been suspended from school, have difficulty getting along with other children, and have no friends. - Food Research & Action Center

- Children with hunger are more likely to have repeated a grade, received special education services, or received mental health counseling, than low-income children who do not experience hunger. - Food Research & Action Center

- Children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time – perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. - Food Research & Action Center

- Children who eat breakfast show improved cognitive function, attention, and memory. - Food Research & Action Center

- Schools that provide breakfast in the classroom to all students show decreases in tardiness and suspensions as well as improved student behavior and attentiveness. - Food Research & Action Center

- 8% of high school students in Detroit rarely eat fruits or vegetables. (2011 - CDC)

- 10% of high school students in Detroit drink soda pop at least three times a day. (2011 - CDC)

- The weekly diets of DPS high schoolers have improved in the last ten years. Even with this improvement in healthy eating habits, over 20 percent of students had not eaten fruits or vegetables within a week of taking the survey. (Data Driven Detroit, 2013)

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