WICHITA — Maybe you’ve heard the local wisdom that Wichita has the most fast food joints per person in the country. It’s the reason there’s so much obesity here, the wisdom goes. There are a bunch of fast food places, but it’s not even close to the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it).
Using the US Department of Agriculture’s new Food Environment Atlas, I looked only at the markets with more than 100 fast food restaurants (Sedgwick County has 424) to screen out small counties with large rest-stops . Sedgwick County was 53rd in the country with one fast food place per 1,124 people. That equals out to $485 per person per year spent on fast food.
Now, it does have the most per person among big counties in Kansas, ahead of Shawnee (1 per 1,162 people) and Johnson (1 per 1,282), although Trego County has the most when all counties are included. But the winners of the most fast food places per person among big markets were – no surprise – tourist places, such as Atlantic City, NJ (no. 1), Washington DC (no. 2), Manhattan (NY, no. 3) and Myrtle Beach (no. 4).