Americans have been spending less and less of their disposal income on food, American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry points out in a new post.
Perry credits “innovation, technological advances, and the ever-greater supply chain and distributional efficiencies that drive America’s farming industry,” for helping drive down food prices relative to other goods and services.
Using USDA data, Perry presents four charts that help show how food production has gotten more efficient through the years:
The top left chart shows annual corn yields since 1866, and you can see how corn yields have rocketed since the 1930s.
On the top right, you can see how wheat yields have increased three-fold since 1950.
Soybean yields are on the bottom left, showing a “steady increase,” Perry notes.
On the bottom right, we see how milk yields have increased through the years.
“With a three-fold increase in productivity since 1950 for growing wheat, four-fold productivity increases for growing soybeans and producing milk, and a six-fold productivity increase for corn, it’s not surprising that food affordability in the US is at an all-time high, when measured as a share of all consumer expenditures and as a share of disposable personal income,” Perry concludes.
“Food has never been more affordable in America as a direct result of the fact that the productivity of the US farm sector has never been higher — as the four examples above help to illustrate.”