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Beyond Income: What Else Predicts Very Low Food Security Among Children? (WP-15-25)

Patricia M. Anderson, Kristin F. Butcher, Hilary W. Hoynes, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

The researchers examine characteristics and correlates of households in the United States that are most likely to have children at risk of inadequate nutrition – those that report very low food security (VLFS) among their children. Using 11 years of the Current Population Survey, plus data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and American Time Use Survey, they describe these households in great detail with the goal of trying to understand how these households differ from households without such severe food insecurity. While household income certainly plays an important role in determining VLFS among children, the researchers find that even after flexibly controlling for income-to-poverty rates some household characteristics and patterns of program participation have important additional explanatory power. Finally, their examination of the NHANES and ATUS data suggests an important role for both mental and physical health in determining the food security status of children.

Patricia M. Anderson, Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College

Kristin F. Butcher, Marshall I. Goldman Professor of Economics, Wellesley College

Hilary W. Hoynes, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, University of California, Berkeley

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

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