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Food Deserts and Their Effects on Education in Urban and Rur

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Stephen Yaros

on 19 December 2014

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Transcript of Food Deserts and Their Effects on Education in Urban and Rur

Food Deserts and Their Effect on Education
Many people take for granted the easy access they have to obtain food on a daily basis. Many Americans struggle with this, not necessarily because they are poor, but because the necessary facilities are not within their geographical grasp. These people live in what are called ‘food deserts’. These areas, where people have insufficient access to affordable and healthy food retailers, create hardship and strife for those who reside there. So what is the cost? How does living in one of these areas actually affect someone? This study looks at Michigan citizens who live in food deserts and examines the effect of living there on education. Specifically, this study looks at high school dropout rates, and how they are influenced differently by urban food deserts and rural food deserts. Using 2010 census data, the U.S. Department of Agriculture mapped out the locations of food deserts throughout the country. Using this data, and information from the National Center for Educational Statistics, I found that those people living in urban food deserts have higher chances of dropping out of high school.
Secondary education faces numerous problems in today’s world, but one of the most undeniable is the health and well-being of students. However, there are so many aspects of health that affect education, such as physical, mental, and familial, that it is difficult to accurately describe and detail every specific component and its effect on students. My paper chose to solely focus on physical health, specifically dietary nutrition. It examines food deserts, which are areas with insufficient access to stores that offer nutritious and affordable food. To go even further, this paper will detail and describe the differing impact between urban food deserts and rural ones on student’s high school dropout rates in the state of Michigan. The belief is that urban food deserts are more detrimental to dropout rates than rural food deserts, and although the data somewhat confirms this idea, there are complicated aspects of the study that need exploring. Before this study could proceed, however, I had to take a look at what we already knew about these topics.
For the analysis, the study will be analyzing two categories: urban Michigan counties and rural Michigan counties. First, there will be a comparison between the two areas in regards to baseline statistics, such as number of Michigan counties in each categorization, the number of public schools, the number of students, etc. After this has been completed, the differences between the urban areas and the rural ones will be examined.

There will then be a table with statistics about areas that are food deserts. This will help to further analyze the differences between rural and urban areas, and determine how comparable they are.

Lastly, a table will be created that contains the high school dropout rates for the rural and urban areas. This table will also include statistics that look at the potentially positive relationship between dropout rates and food deserts.
Data Description
This research utilizes data from two sources. The first is from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. More specifically, the study utilizes the Food Access Research Atlas in order to define areas that are food deserts. This online tool utilizes information from the 2010 census, and it allows users to interactively search and find different areas throughout the U.S., displaying the food access levels of the different areas

The second source that is used is the Elementary/Secondary Information System (ELSi), which is an online database from the National Center for Educational Statistics. This online system allows users to pick and choose certain baseline statistics, enrollment figures, and individual school-level financial information for U.S. schools.

Research Summary Presentation
Stephen Yaros
Results Cont.
Results Cont.
This research project and paper sought to examine food deserts in America and discover how they, and nutritional health, affect education. This is a somewhat broad request, so the project decided to focus on the effect of food deserts on high school dropout rates. It also did so in such a way as to examine how effects of food deserts differ between urban food deserts and rural food deserts. The hypothesis was that food deserts in urban areas affected dropout rates more than food deserts in rural areas. The study ended up confirming this hypothesis, but there remained large questions over not only the makeup of the experiment, but its effectiveness at testing its question effectively.
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