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These States Have the Fewest Fast-Food Restaurants, Survey Finds

You may be surprised by the biggest fast-food deserts.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Mura Dominko
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If you want to visit the de facto fast food capital of America, you'll need to travel to its most distant state. Hawaii has 97.5 fast food restaurants per 100 thousand residents, according to data assembled by Nice Rx—the highest number in the country. And for the state with the fewest fast food outlets per capita, look to the other noncontiguous state, Alaska, which has just 61.9 fast-food restaurants per 100 thousand residents, or one location for every 1,615 Alaskans.

Other states where finding your favorite fast-food outlet could be difficult are Wyoming, which has 62.5 locations per 100 thousands residents, South Dakota, with 63.9, Wisconsin, which has 65 per 100 thousand people, and then Florida and Idaho which both have about one fast-food location per 1,527 residents. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)

The data also reveals that the distribution of various fast-food brands across America is fairly uneven. Sure, the big names like McDonald's and Subway can be found in almost every nook and cranny of this country, but not all chains have a strong presence nationwide. For example, you'd be surprised to know that seemingly ubiquitous places like Dunkin and Dairy Queen are missing from several states altogether.

While largely absent from many states (and entirely absent from Vermont), Dairy Queen does have a strong presence in the upper Midwest states, as reported by the Star Tribune of Minnesota. The states with the most DQ locations per capita are North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Montana.

For more on chains that are expanding with new locations this year, check out These Fast-Food Chains Are Opening Hundreds of Locations This Year, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more