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McDonald's Has the Most Locations in America Here

A new data set identifies the states with the highest concentrations of the fast-food chain per capita.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan
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More than one-third of Americans eat fast food on any given day and for a lot of people, their first choice is McDonald's, as it's one of the most popular chains worldwide. Despite the fact that it doesn't boast as many locations as some of its competitors.

Currently, there are fewer than 14,000 McDonald's restaurants nationwide, with the bulk of them residing between the Midwest and Southern states. Five states, in particular, have a greater share of those locations than others. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

Using recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the team at Nicerx—a company that offers prescription drugs to patients for less—determined the states with the most McDonald's restaurants by calculating which places have the highest concentrations of establishments per 100,000 residents.

Here are the states with the most McDonald's restaurants per capita, ranked from the fifth-highest concentration to the absolute highest.

5

Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown skyline on the river.
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In Ohio, there's no shortage of McDonald's restaurants. For every 100,000 residents, there are 5.2 Mikey D establishments—the fifth-highest concentration of restaurants per capita of any state. In 2018, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Ohio had a total of 616 McDonald's restaurants in the state, down from 823 in 2016. Additionally, Ohio has the fifth-highest concentration of fast-food restaurants, in general, with just under 87 establishments per 100,000 people.

Of all the major fast-food chains, though, Ohio has the second-highest concentration of Wendy's locations per 100,000 people (at 3.5) of any state. Fun fact, the very first Wendy's popped up over 50 years ago in Columbus, Ohio.

And speaking of Wendy's, don't miss 13 Facts About Wendy's You Never Knew.

4

Michigan

A Moon rising over Detroit, Michigan
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The state with the fourth-highest concentration of McDonald's establishments per capita is Michigan, with an estimated 5.4 restaurants per 100,000 people. Michigan's first McDonald's opened in 1957 in Lansing, just two years after the chain's founder, Ray Kroc, opened the very first storefront east of the Mississippi River in Des Plaines, Illinois.

3

Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky, USA skyline on the river.
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Not only does Kentucky have the third-highest concentration of Mickey D's restaurants of any state—with roughly 5.6 establishments per capita—but it also holds an equivalent rank in its concentration of Wendy's restaurants, too. Kentucky is home to the most KFC locations per 100,000 people as well.

2

Arkansas

pine bluff arkansas mcdonalds
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In Arkansas, you're bound to be near a McDonald's. With 5.7 restaurants per every 100,000 residents, the southern state holds the second-highest concentration of the beloved burger chain. And did you know that one of McDonald's original, single Golden Arch signs can still be spotted in Pine Bluff, Arkansas?

Aside from McDonald's, Arkansas is also home to the third-highest concentration of Taco Bell locations per capita as well as the fourth-highest concentration of KFC establishments.

1

West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
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The state with the most McDonald's restaurants per capita is West Virginia, having roughly 5.8 establishments per 100,000 people. By contrast, Rhode Island and New Jersey both have the lowest concentrations of the fast-food chain of any state, with each only having 2.9 locations per capita.

For more, be sure to check out Dangerous Side Effects of Eating McDonald's Every Day.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more