Staff Publications -- Department of Economics


Retail Stores in Poor Urban Neighborhoods

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1997


This paper examines several hypotheses about access to different types and sizes of retail establishments by residents of poor and nonpoor urban neighborhoods, using Chicago as a case study. As expected, poor zip code areas in Chicago have fewer and smaller retail outlets overall than nonpoor areas, including fewer supermarkets, banks, and large drug stores. After controlling for purchasing power, poor areas still lack large drug stores but, surprisingly, not banks and supermarkets. Residents of poor neighborhoods must travel more than two miles to have access to the same numbers of supermarkets, large drug stores, banks, and other types of stores as residents of nonpoor areas.