States With the Most (and Fewest) Fast Food Restaurants Per Person

Source: Susan Vineyard / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

It’s no secret that Americans – in common with most populations around the world these days – love fast food. 

According to statistics updated this month by The Barbecue Lab, 83% of American families eat fast food at least once a week; a third of all Americans are eating it on any given day; the average U.S. household spends 10% of its annual income on fast food; and regular fast food consumption increases 2.2% every year.

Then there are the other statistics – the ones that tie frequent consumption of burgers, tacos, pizza, fried chicken, sugary drinks, etc., to obesity, cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, and even depression. But let’s not get into that.

The fact is, fast food tends to satisfy our cravings for salt, sugar, and fat – and it’s cheap, convenient, and, well, fast. Having it once in a while probably won’t do us any lasting damage.

It’s clear from the distribution of fast food chain outposts around the country, though, that the residents of some states enjoy it more often than others. Chain-unfriendly zoning laws, regional health-consciousness, and culturally ingrained dietary habits probably all come into play, but some parts of the country are home to considerably more fast food places than others. (These are the fast food capitals of America.)

To determine the states with the most and fewest fast food restaurants per 10,000 people, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study conducted by the sports betting site Betsperts. The site began with a list of the 30 largest fast food chains according to Wikipedia, then used Data Infiniti to determine the number of locations of those chains per 10,000 people in each state. The most popular chain in every state was calculated using Google Keyword Planner. (For a more granular breakdown, these are the favorite fast food restaurants in 30 U.S. cities.)

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