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Target Region: Greater Compton Area

While food deserts are nonexistent in the "better" areas of Los Angeles County, the poorer areas (Inglewood, Compton, Bell, East Los Angeles, South Central Los Angeles) have plenty of "food deserts" and "food swamps."

Located in the heart of the LA County, the area between Downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach, centered around Compton is considered both a "food desert" and a "food swamp."

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The presence of a "food swamps" is an equally strong predictor of obesity rates as the absence of full-service grocery stores.


The neighborhoods surrounding the Compton Blvd in Compton, CA, home of the Chamber, is great example of both a "food desert" and "food swamp." The area services the food needs of the entire city center.

What sets the greater Compton region apart from other urban food deserts/swamps is its size.


Compton itself is home to 97,612 population and 6,674 registered businesses.


The greater Compton area spans 40 square miles and over 500,000 people live and work in the area.

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Healthy food in the region is hard to find, quality is sub-standard and price for good food is high. Residents of the greater Compton region and work-related commuters to the area are paying with their health for cheap and easily available sub-par food. This becomes evident from the data provided by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

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The populations with the highest rates of obesity and Type II diabetes in the region are non-white minorities:

Latinos diagnosed with Type II diabetes are 13.5 percent, and blacks are 12 percent.

People diagnosed with obesity are 40 percent throughout the region.

Current Food Resource Environment in the Greater Compton Region

Greater Compton region which is central to South LA has one of the poorest food resource environments in LA County. 


Home to over 1.3 million people, the greater South LA area’s roughly 60 full-service grocery stores serve about 22,000 residents.


In contrast, West LA has 650,000 residents and 57 stores, each of which serve around 11,000 residents.

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The availability, variety and quality of fresh foods found in all food outlets in the region are considerably inferior to that found in other areas of Los Angeles. A study conducted by CHC found the following data on food retail outlets of the region compared with those in West LA are cause for concern:

  • The area's food outlets sell less often fresh produce, meat, and low-carb snacks.

  • Only three-quarters of all food retail outlets in the region sell fresh fruits and vegetables compared to over 90 percent of those in West LA.

  • The food retail outlets in the region have only about half of the selection of fruits and vegetables, and they are more likely to be damaged or spoiled.

Not surprisingly, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently reported that the percentage of adults who consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day is significantly lower in South LA (12.7 percent) than in West LA (22.7 percent) and LA County (14.7 percent).

In addition, only 27.6 percent of adults in South LA rate the quality of the fresh fruits and vegetables where they shop as high, compared to 51.6 percent in West LA and 36 percent in the County overall.

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