From Food Desert to Food Mirage: Race, Social Class, and Food Shopping in a Gentrifying Neighborhood


New supermarkets in previous “food deserts” can benefit residents by improving their access to healthful, affordable food. But in gentrifying neighborhoods characterized by the inflow of middle-class, white residents and the outflow of working class, minorities, who benefits from a new supermarket that emphasizes organic food and environmental sustainability? This paper contributes to the food access literature by examining the food shopping behavior of diverse residents by using survey data and probability sampling in the Alberta neighborhood in Portland, Oregon (USA). Regression results show that college-educated (62%) and white residents (60%) are much more likely to shop there weekly, regardless of age, gender, owner-renter status, distance from supermarket, or length of time living in the neighborhood. These findings indicate that supermarkets that promote healthy living and environmental sustainability need to be sensitive to the racial “symbolic boundaries” and socioeconomic barriers that may create “food mirages” by limiting food access to poor and minority residents.

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Sullivan, D. (2014) From Food Desert to Food Mirage: Race, Social Class, and Food Shopping in a Gentrifying Neighborhood. Advances in Applied Sociology, 4, 30-35. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2014.41006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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