Starbucks is a beloved American brand that you might think would reign supreme in Seattle and Washington State, where Starbucks was founded, but recent research proves otherwise. According to research by Pricelisto, Oregon beat out Washington as the state with the highest Starbucks per capita.
Oregon has 401 Starbucks stores in the state, which is one Starbucks store per 10,450 residents. Washington closely follows Oregon in the study with 711 Starbucks locations, meaning there is one store per 10,710 residents. Unsurprisingly, the Pacific Northwest tops the list considering the company started there.
Nevada comes in third with one store per 10,994 residents. The remaining top ten states in order are Colorado, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, and New Mexico. California came in fifth for the number of stores per resident, despite having 3,087 stores – the most stores of any state, due to its large population of 39 million people.
A spokesperson for Pricelisto.com, the company that commissioned the research, said: “America has the largest coffee market worldwide, and this is clearly reflected in the number of Starbucks stores across the country.
“To put it into perspective, we calculated 15,852 Starbucks stores across the US, whilst there are just over 2,500 stores throughout Europe. The sheer difference in these numbers shows the extreme demand for Starbucks in America. “
Another study found that several states search for their closest Starbucks location on Google more frequently than Starbucks-obsessed Washingtonians. In an analysis by DadAnswersAll.com, Nevada tops the list for the number of Google searches for “Starbucks near me” followed by Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, and Texas.
Even though Starbucks started in Seattle, the Starbucks obsession has spread throughout the entire country.
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The United States Has a Starbucks Obsession
According to Statista, the United States had 15,873 Starbucks stores, both company-operated and licensed, at the end of 2022. This means that the United States has almost half of the 35,711 worldwide Starbucks stores. China has the next highest number of Starbucks, with 6,019 stores, followed by Canada, with 2,101. Europe as a whole has 2,554 stores.
Blogger James R.A. Davenport put together a map of the United States and plotted all of the Starbucks locations throughout the country. He determined that you are never more than 170 miles away from a Starbucks, no matter where you are in the U.S.
According to WorldPopulationReview.com, Finland has the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world, while the United States does not even break the top 10 coffee-drinking countries per capita. Despite having the most Starbucks stores of any country, the United States still is not as coffee-obsessed per capita as the rest of the world.
However, the United States still tops the list for the amount of total coffee consumed, drinking a whopping 27 million 60-lb bags of dry coffee beans per year or 400 million cups of coffee per day, thanks in part to its large population and preference for coffee over tea. Because of the demand for coffee in the U.S., many other fast-food chains offer coffee as well including McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, often at competitive prices relative to Starbucks.
According to a study by Acorns in 2017, the average American spent $1,100 per year on coffee. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income was $60,336 in 2017, which means that coffee drinking alone makes up almost 2% of household spending.
Starbucks changed its rewards program in February 2023 to encourage people to spend even more at Starbucks. Now it costs almost twice as many points to get free coffee drinks through the rewards program.
The Research Methodology
To determine the number of Starbucks per capita, researchers at the price-tracking website Pricelisto.com crunched the numbers to see which states are the most Starbucks-obsessed. They extracted the exact number of Starbucks stores in each state in the US. Each state was ranked proportionally in terms of its population to give the number of residents per Starbucks store.
To determine the number of Google searches for “Starbucks near me,” DadAnswersAll.com used Google Trends to gather the normalized number of Google searches per state for the year ending in April 2023.
Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1971 by three friends, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. Inspired by Alfred Peet’s coffee roasting techniques, they initially focused on selling high-quality coffee beans and coffee-making equipment.
In 1982, Howard Schultz joined Starbucks and was captivated by the espresso bars he encountered on a trip to Italy. He convinced the founders to experiment with selling coffee beverages, and after a brief departure to establish his own coffeehouse chain, Il Giornale, he returned to purchase Starbucks in 1987.
Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks expanded rapidly, introducing new drinks, store formats, and innovative practices, such as ethically sourced beans and employee benefits. As of 2021, Starbucks boasted over 30,000 stores in more than 80 countries, solidifying its position as a global powerhouse in the coffee industry.