Population Health

December 1, 2022

Lower-income communities realize economic benefits from sweetened beverage taxes

Image of soda cansIntake of sugar-sweetened beverages is a known contributor to a number of health issues, with several local jurisdictions in the U.S. having implemented sweetened beverage taxes as a means of successfully reducing purchasing. Most studies of the economic impact of these taxes have focused on retail-level data, with a new study from University of Washington researchers being among the first to investigate the impact at the household level.

The study – which examined economic equity impacts of sweetened beverage taxes in three cities – found that lower-income communities received a net benefit to the tune of $5.3 to $16.4 million per year as a result of how tax dollars were allocated. For example, tax revenue raised by Seattle has been deployed to increase access to healthy food as well as to support child health and learning in early childhood.

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