Some Jacksonville zip codes mean higher prices for goods, services

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An Action News Jax investigation shows people in Jacksonville pay a lot more for items and services in certain areas of town.

“It's just where you go,” said Aaron Hopkins, who lives on the Southside. "I think the Northside and the Westside is more expensive."

Hopkins isn't wrong.

Action News Jax reporter Erica Bennett reached out to dozens of grocery stores, corner markets and gas stations to compare the price of a common household good - a gallon of milk.

She found the most expensive gallon of milk at a Westside Food Mart on Wilson Boulevard, where it was sold for $5.69.

The average price was about $3 cheaper on the Southside and in Jacksonville Beach.

A gallon of milk was about $5 at a gas station on Dunn Avenue. It was also expired by 10 days.

Part of the problem is food deserts in Jacksonville’s urban neighborhoods, where there are no supermarkets for miles.

This causes people to pay higher prices at gas stations.

Winn-Dixie is the supermarket with the largest presence in Jacksonville, with 30 locations.

If not a Winn-Dixie, there is a Publix, Walmart, Target or Save-a-lot in most areas, except the Northside.

People who live in Northside neighborhoods have little to no access to larger stores with cheaper prices.

Transportation to supermarkets in those areas is also an issue.

A car insurance website shows people pay nearly $1,350 to ensure a 2014 Honda Accord in zip codes 32208 in the Northside and 32209 on the Northwest side of Jacksonville.

In neighbor hoods in the 32224 area on the Southside, insurance for the same car was more than $100 cheaper, approximately $1,200 per year.

Dr. Paul Mason, an economics professor at University of North Florida, has studied pricing by population for 30 years.

"The customers in the poor regions of town tend to be regionally unable to move around,” said Mason.

Mason said those customers are an audience stores can take advantage of.

When we asked county leaders what is being done to improve healthy options for people living in the urban core, they said it was up to the community to take action.

"Healthy food access is not something that we go in and do for people,” said Kelli Wells, director of Duval County Department of Health. “It is something that we go in to communities and support them in obtaining for themselves.”

Until that happens, people in Jacksonville’s urban zip codes will continue to pay more.

Action News Jax also researched child care prices all over Jacksonville. While prices differed dramatically based on the kind of child care center, we found costs increased in the wealthier areas.

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