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See How Long A Chicagoan Has To Work In Order To Buy A Burger

By Jon Graef in Food on Apr 19, 2014 7:00PM


Fascinating food for thought, if you'll pardon a pun, from NPR's Planet Money: Using data from FoodGenius, Planet Money created charts for six cities in the United States—including Chicago—to answer the question of how long would a person have to work to buy a burger in their neighborhood.

Planet Money used average burger prices for January 2014, as well as average income by zip code, in order to map everything out. The number of minutes range from five minutes or less to a half-an-hour plus.

Surprisingly, Chicago looks somewhat even-handed, as most neighborhoods are in the 11 to 15 minute range. Of course, the rich neighborhoods, like Lincoln Park, are on the lower side of that range, around 9 or ten minutes.

Meanwhile, poorer neighborhoods, like Austin or West Garfield Park, range around 18 minutes. The longest time, however, to work before you could buy a burger was 32 minutes, around the Edison Park neighborhood.

Planet Money took income data from the census, and, of note, only included people with full-time, year-round jobs. (Meaning, no part time or seasonal employees were included.)

By no means should the maps be treated as gospel. After all, a factor seemingly not mentioned is where people get their burgers.

Even amongst national chains, there's a difference between a burger at McDonald's and a burger at Five Guys, in terms of cost. That said, this is good food for thought, and the maps are certainly fun to play with.

Check them out here.