The continuing popularity of fast food in America has ensured that fast food chains will continue to be embedded in the country's landscape — some places more so than others. With about one-third of Americans eating fast food every day, there are bound to be some states with people indulging just a bit more than usual, too.
One could almost say that fast food has gone on to become an American staple, especially for kids and teens. It could turn out to be a worrying trend for parents, but the figure has been established.
"About 34 percent of all children and adolescents, aged 2 to 19, consume fast food on a given day," Cheryl Fryar of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics cited, via NPR.
"I think it speaks to how big a role fast food plays in how we eat in America," Julia Wolfson, a doctoral student and researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, pointed out. While she added that fast food chains have in some ways done their part by introducing new menu items with fewer calories, they are definitely here to stay — especially in the southern states.
In Tennessee, there are 5.2 restaurants per 10,000 people, according to the Business Insider, which ranked it fifth place in its recent survey of states with the highest per-capita number of fast food outlets. It was narrowly beaten out by Oklahoma and West Virginia, who both tied for 5.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents.
Nebraska is a far second with 5.4 restaurants per 10,000 people and is far outstripped by the state with the highest concentration of fast food branches in the U.S. — Alabama. The state has a whopping 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents, the highest in the country by far.
While the southern states lead the rest when it comes to fast food proliferation, the central US is not far behind. Meanwhile, the Northeast has been particularly less amenable to the McDonald's, the KFCs and the Chick-Fil-As, with New York and Jersey not even having two restaurants per 10,000 people.