Past Research

With Washington, DC’s long standing history of gentrification, certain areas of DC have become more well-equipped with resources and economic means than others. Whether this be with money, food, education, or opportunity, there are clear disparities in resources according to geographic location in DC. How do the people of DC in areas with lower resources respond to these disparities? Are there certain actions that result from this inequality? How do the livelihoods and economic situations of people in certain areas affect levels of violence and crime? What is the emotional response to this? 

Previous studies have found that childhood trauma and life-changing violence are linked with severe food insecurity (Chilton et al., 2014) and that income poverty and poor health and nutritional status are associated with armed conflict onset (Pinstrup-Andersen & Shimokawa et al., 2008). Wards 7 and 8 have the highest poverty rates according to 2017 U.S. Census data (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Other research has also reported that 46 percent of food deserts—which are areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (Correll, 2019)—are located in Ward 8, while 31 percent of food deserts are located in Ward 7 (Sturdivant, 2017). Ward 7 and 8, according to 2016 data (Sturdivant, 2017), only have two and one grocery stores, respectively, and the highest proportion of households without a car (Smith, 2017), indicating that these areas have to travel the farthest to access grocery stores and have fewer means to do so.

What is the relationship between food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and crime?

Based on previous studies, we hypothesize that Wards 7 and 8 likely have the highest crime rates, given their low food access and high poverty metrics.


  1. Chilton, M. M., Rabinowich, J. R., & Woolf, N. H. (2014). Very low food security in the USA is linked with exposure to violence. Public health nutrition, 17(1), 73-82.
  2. Pinstrup-Andersen, P., & Shimokawa, S. (2008). Do poverty and poor health and nutrition increase the risk of armed conflict onset?. Food Policy, 33(6), 513-520.
  3. U.S. Census Bureau (2017). American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from Census Reporter Profile page for Ward 8, DC
  4. U.S. Census Bureau (2017). American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from Census Reporter Profile page for Ward 7, DC
  5. Sturdivant, Christina. (2017, Mar 17). Report: More Than 11 Percent Of D.C. Is A Food Desert. Retrieved from
  6. Smith, Rany. (2017, Mar 13). Food access in D.C is deeply connected to poverty and transportation. Retrieved from
  7. Correll, Robyn. (2019, 28 Nov). What Are Food Deserts? Retrieved from