A Big Mac may taste the same at McDonald’s locations across the country, but the iconic burger is cheapest in Mississippi and priciest in the District of Columbia, a new study found.
A Big Mac costs 11% less than average in Mississippi, yet is also the least affordable, due to the relatively low income of residents in the state, according to a rundown by Veronica Fletcher, a data analyst and founder of Pantry & Larder, a food-focused website. Conversely, a Big Mac costs 22% more than average in D.C., where it’s also the most affordable because of the significant share of higher-income residents, Fletcher found.
“States like Mississippi with a low disposable income are going to struggle to afford even the cheapest Big Mac. And areas with high disposable incomes (like D.C.) won’t have any trouble paying over $6,” noted Fletcher, who cited her own research and fastfoodmenuprices.com in creating a price index.
A 550-calorie Big Mac without the fries and soft drink runs $3.91 in Mississippi and $5.35 in D.C., according to fastfoodmenuprices.com.
U.S. income statistics were factored in to determine where the the Big Mac — on the menu since 1968 — is most and least affordable. And, while the price of a Big Mac varies, it’s a difference of a few bucks at most, versus the more than $50,000 gap between highest and lowest disposable incomes, Fletcher stated.
Exceptions include Hawaii, which has the second-most expensive Big Mac but not the disposable income to match, with the Big Mac 3.3% less affordable on the island than the U.S. average.
Nationwide, Big Mac prices are up nearly 8% from a year ago, Fletcher found, in line with broader inflation trends.
Menu prices across the U.S. climbed 7.6% from July 2021 to July 2022, with consumer prices overall rising 8.5% over that period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.