Using the average price of a burger (from Food Genius) and average income by ZIP code, NPR's Planet Money created maps of six major cities that illustrate how long the average person has to work to buy a burger in their neighborhood, including New York City, the Los Angeles Area, Chicago, the D.C. Metro Area, the Bay Area, and Baltimore.
One particularly striking example of disparity is Beverly Hills v.s. Vernon, CA. In Beverly Hills, where the average hourly wage is $103.18 and the average price of a burger is $11.37, the average person needs to work 7 minutes to buy a burger. In Vernon, the average person has to work more than six times longer (43 minutes) to buy a burger, since the average hourly wage is $13.12 and the average price of a burger is $9.33.
The post on Planet Money acknowledges that restricting the income data to workers with full-time, year-round jobs, and the fact that the average hourly wage in high-income areas is "pulled up by very high earners" may make the numbers seem high in these areas, but says the bottom line is "Residents in fancy neighborhoods don't have to work as long to buy burgers, even though burgers are more expensive in fancy neighborhoods."
Check out the post on Planet Money to click around on the interactive maps.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax