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Americans spend the most on food in these 10 cities

Ann Schmidt

If you're hoping to stay on budget, you may want to stick to a list of necessities when you hit the grocery store — especially if you live in a big city.

Residents in some of America's major cities could be spending more than 10 percent of their income on food, a new study by SmartAsset found. The financial group analyzed how much people are spending on food in 22 metro areas.

And pricey food isn't the only thing emptying wallets: Among the top 10 cities that spend the most on food, five also spend the most money on transportation, the study says.

It's worth noting that there didn’t appear to be a geographic factor in how much people spend on groceries.

“There isn’t a single region that dominates this top 10. Representatives are distributed fairly evenly: Four top-10 contenders are from states in the Western region of the country, three are from states in the South and three are from states in the Midwest,” SmarAsset said.

The group's findings — using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey — were based on how much the average household spends on food annually and the average household income.

Here are ten U.S. cities where people spend the greatest percentage of their salary on groceries, according to SmartAsset.

1. Los Angeles and Houston: 11.41%

Los Angeles and Houston tied for first place, with the average household spending about 11.41 percent of its annual income on food, the study found. These two cities were also on the list of places where people spent the most on transportation, according to SmartAsset.

In Los Angeles, the average annual income is $76,471, with average food spending at $8,727 a year. Households in Houston, however, have an average annual income of $80,250 with an average of $9,153 spent on food each year.

3. Honolulu: 10.71%

In Honolulu, the average household spends about 10.71 percent of its income on food, which could be so high because food has to be transported to Hawaii, SmartAsset says in the study.

With an average household income of $93,672 in Honolulu, average food spending is as high as $10,036 a year.

4. Chicago: 10.66%

The average household in Chicago is spending 10.66 percent of its income — or $8,170 — on food, the study found. With an average annual income of $76,639, Chicago also has the fifth-lowest income of the 22 surveyed in the SmartAsset study.

5. Tampa: 10.42%

The fifth-highest amount of income spent on food in the study was Tampa, Fla., with 10.42 percent. The metro area has an average household income of $60,340, with $6,289 spent every year on food.

Tampa is also on SmartAsset’s list of cities that spend the most on transportation.

6. San Diego: 9.99%

In San Diego, the average household spends about 9.99 percent of its income — $99,931 on average — on food. That total is $9,984 spent on food.

7. Baltimore: 9.74%

The average household in Baltimore, Md., spends about 9.74 percent of its income on food, which totals about $8,964 annually, the study found. The city’s average income is $91,988.

Baltimore is another of the cities found by SmartAsset to spend the most money on transportation.

8. St. Louis: 9.59%

According to the findings of the study, St. Louis, Mo., has the third-lowest income of the 22 metro areas, but the eighth-highest percentage of income spent on food, with 9.59 percent.

The average income in the area is $76,108 and average spending on food annually is $7,300.

St. Louis is also among the cities that spend the most on transportation.

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul: 9.39%

The average household in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., area is spending 9.39 percent of its income on food every year, with an average income of $91,298. That ends up being a yearly total of $8,571 spent on food.

10. Seattle: 9.30%

Even though among the top 10 cities Seattle has the lowest percentage of its average household income spent on food at 9.30 percent, the raw dollar amount is higher than the others on the list.

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The average household spends $10,958 on food annually, with an average income of $117,844.

Other cities on the list of 22 metro areas included: Phoenix, Ariz., Philadelphia, Pa., Detroit, Mich., New York, N.Y., Boston, Mass., Anchorage, Ala., Denver, Colo., Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Miami, Fla., Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and San Francisco, Calif.

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