Zachary Berry
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New Survey Lists the States and US Cities Where Fast Food Restaurants Are the Most Popular

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States and cities in the South appear to have more fast food joints, while New England has far fewer fast food restaurants per capita

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According to recent studies, roughly a quarter of American adults eat fast food every single day. Needless to say, Americans are big fans of cheap food that can be eaten on the go or in their vehicles.

With that said, not every part of the country is over-saturated with fast food eateries. Certain states and cities have far more fast food restaurants per capita than others do. Datafiniti, a software company based in Austin, Texas, recently looked into this trend and discovered the states where fast food is the most and least popular.


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To determine where fast food was the most popular among residents, Datafiniti first determined which fast food chain restaurants had the largest market shares. Unsurprisingly, Subway, McDonald’s, and Burger King topped the list of the largest fast food chains in the U.S.

Of the fast food restuarants, 18.5 percent were Subway establishments. McDonald’s had the next largest share of nationwide fast food locations, with a market share of 11.3 percent.

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Photo: Dwight Burdette

Next, Datafiniti determined which states had the most fast food establishments per 10,000 residents. What the company discovered were significant regional trends in regards to how popular fast food restaurants really were.

The Central region of the United States had the most fast food restaurants per capita, at 4.5 restaurants per 10,000 residents. The South was close behind with an average of 4.4 restaurants per 10,000 residents.

By comparison, New England had far fewer restaurants per capita. In fact, Datafiniti found that there was an average of only 2.5 fast food restaurants per 10,000 residents across the region.


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The state with the most fast food eateries per capita was Alabama, with 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents. The next highest per capita rate for a state was Nebraska, with 5.4 fast food restaurants per 10,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Vermont had the fewest fast-food restaurants per 10,000 residents, with only 1.9 such eateries per 10,000 residents. New Jersey and New York followed closely behind with 2 fast food restaurants per 10,000 residents and 2.1 fast food restaurants per 10,000 residents, respectively.

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The major city with the most fast food restaurants per capita was not in Alabama. Instead, Orlando, Florida, had the most fast food restaurants per 10,000 residents.

Datafiniti found that there were 18.4 fast food establishments for every 10,000 residents in the Orlando area. Orlando was also a hot spot for McDonald’s, with 20.9 McDonald’s locations per 100,000 residents.

Some of America’s smaller cities had even more fast food restaurants per capita than Orlando. Katy, Texas, a suburb outside Houston, reportedly has 62.5 fast food restaurants per 10,0000 residents.

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Even though it is the nation’s largest city, NYC isn’t full of fast food joints

America’s largest city with the least fast food restaurants per capita was also its largest city overall: New York City. In NYC, there were only 0.6 fast food establishments per 10,000 residents.

With so many fast food restaurants open across America, it should come as no surprise that recent CDC findings have concluded that approximately 39.8 percent of U.S. adults are currently obese. Still, if you need a quick meal on the go, then America has no shortage of options for you to choose from.

Sources: Datafiniti, CDC

  • Zachary Berry

    Zachary Berry currently resides in the Dayton, Ohio area. However, he enjoys traveling from place to place, as he was born in Oklahoma City and has also lived in Albuquerque and Orlando (such is the life of a military brat). Zachary graduated from Ohio University with a major in Strategic Communication, which is fancy talk for advertising and public relations. Beginning his career at The News Wheel as a lowly intern, he was able to climb his way to the top, eventually claiming his place within the last cubicle on the left. Other jobs that Zachary has held include driving around a safari truck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When he’s not putting his nose to the grindstone, Zachary enjoys watching and critiquing movies and television. See more articles by Zachary.