Despite being associated with high caloric consumption, as well high intake of fat and sodium, fast food has long been a beloved part of the American diet. Nearly 37% of U.S. adults consume food from quick-service restaurants on any given day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (These are 30 popular fast foods that are real calorie bombs.)
Other CDC findings show adults aged 20 to 39 consume the most fast food. Men are more likely than women to have fast food for lunch, while women are more likely to consume fast food as a snack. And, likely shattering a common misconception, the percentage of adults who consume fast food actually increases as family income rises.
American fast-food choices abound, served up in brightly-colored restaurants by the King, the Queen, the Colonel, and others. But perhaps no fast-food restaurant is more globally and instantly recognized as the one with the clown as a mascot: McDonald’s. (These are the best burgers you can get at a fast-food restaurant.)
There were 39,198 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide at the end of 2020, including 13,682 outlets in the United States, according to the company’s 2020 annual report. Only 657 stores are company operated, making McDonald’s the world’s largest franchise network by revenue. The company may have planted its golden arches in 119 countries, but the U.S. is by far its most important market, comprising 41% of all sales last year.
The company is ubiquitous nationwide, but consumer demand for Big Macs and Egg McMuffins in some states is higher than in others. While there are about 4.2 McDonald’s locations per 100,000 people nationwide, the concentration in states ranges from 2.9 McDonald’s restaurants per 100,000 people in New Jersey and Rhode Island to 5.8 per 100,000 in West Virginia.
To identify the number of McDonald’s in each of the 50 states, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the “The Fast Food Capitals of America” feature from NiceRx, a patient assistance program / medication access company. NiceRx used figures from the U.S. Census Bureau for population and total fast food restaurants and full-service restaurants. Totals for the 10 most popular chains were gathered via ScrapeHero.com. NiceRx considers “fast food” as limited-service restaurants, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.