Today, we’re excited to share new data on our impact in rural and low-income communities and how we’re expanding access to nutritious food in food deserts through Project DASH as our business has grown. These findings speak directly to our commitment to supporting local communities by providing opportunities for Dashers, merchants, and consumers to use our platform in different ways to help improve their lives.
Providing Choice in Rural Communities
While one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, rural communities in the United States have historically lagged behind urban areas in economic growth. Rural communities also have a higher vulnerability to the effects of the pandemic which may continue to have repercussions on their local economies. Across the United States, people in rural areas have used our platform to earn, grow their businesses, and enjoy greater choice.
We’re providing a way for people who live in rural communities to flexibly earn and reinvest those earnings in their local economies. For those who used DoorDash to earn in the first half of 2021, the distribution across rural, suburban, and urban communities was nearly even – with almost one-third (32 percent) of Dashers living in rural communities. During the first half of 2021, Dashers in rural communities earned over $1.5 billion. Small businesses in rural communities were able to serve more customers by joining DoorDash. The number of small businesses on DoorDash located in rural communities increased by 15 percent from January to September of 2021.
We’re proud that our platform has been able to help connect residents in rural communities with local merchants. Around 28 percent of all DoorDash deliveries went to homes in rural areas in the first half of this year, increasing choice and convenience for people living in these rural regions.
Expanding Access and Opportunity in Low-Income Communities
DoorDash consumers are diverse, and across all geographies and economic backgrounds, they depend on our platform so they can spend more time with their family or doing something they love. DoorDash consumers are also representative of the United States’ economic composition: in the first half of 2021, 36 percent of DoorDash consumers in the United States were located in low-income communities, which is comparable to the overall percentage of people living in those communities in the US. Our platform powered convenience and access in low-income communities, where the number of consumers using DoorDash grew. During the first half of 2021, the number of DoorDash consumers living in low-income communities increased by around 50 percent when compared to the same period the year before. The ability to rely on the delivery of a warm meal, groceries, or a last-minute item that saves time is something people in all communities — no matter where they live — should be able to enjoy.
Low-income communities were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Even as some communities rebuild quickly, a full recovery for low-income communities is still lagging behind. In the face of these challenges, people in low-income communities turned to flexible earnings opportunities like DoorDash for a way to make extra income, save for a more secure financial future, and for additional support when they need it. From January through June 2021, total earnings of Dashers who live in low-income communities increased 135 percent – totaling $2.1 billion – compared to the same period the previous year. In addition, our platform helps small businesses expand and reach customers. From January to September of this year, the number of small businesses on DoorDash located in low-income communities increased by 12 percent.
Broadening Access to Meals in Food Deserts Through Project DASH
Our commitment to supporting communities is underpinned by our work to broaden access to healthy, nutritious food in local communities through Project DASH. Launched in 2018, Project DASH empowers social impact organizations – such as food banks and food pantries – to use DoorDash logistics to increase access to food in their communities. More than 42 million people in the United States may experience food insecurity this year. And with six percent of the United States population living in food deserts with limited access to healthy and affordable food, helping connect people to nutritious food can play a vital role in the lives of many.*
Of the more than 21 million estimated meals delivered through Project DASH since the program launched, 1.7 million estimated meals were made to people living in food deserts. The impact of Project DASH has been even greater in certain states where our partners have a unique ability to reach communities in need. For example, in Tennessee, Florida, Texas, and Ohio, over twenty-five percent of all Project DASH deliveries were made to areas defined as food deserts.
Empowering local economies also means strengthening communities that have historically had fewer economic opportunities and less access. We’re proud that our platform can help increase access to nutritious food in food deserts and provide a way for people in rural and low-income communities to earn, grow their businesses, and reliably get the meals and items they need.
*Food deserts are defined as low-income communities in which a large number or share of people are either over one mile away from a grocery store in an urban area, or over 10 miles away from a grocery store in a rural area.