Assessing the Effect of Increasing Housing Costs on Food Insecurity

21 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2009

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Tatiana Andreyeva

Yale University

Susan H. Busch

Yale University - School of Public Health

Date Written: September 9, 2009

Abstract

In this paper, we examine whether changes in housing costs lead to changes in rates of food insecurity for economically vulnerable families. We use data on a national, longitudinal sample of young families with children merged with data on housing (rental) costs at the state, MSA, and county levels (2001-2003). Focusing on families near or at the poverty level and using household fixed effects, we demonstrate that increased housing costs over this time period have indeed increased rates of food insecurity. Our preferred results suggest that a $500 increase in yearly rental costs is associated with nearly a 3 percentage point increase in food insecurity rates (10% relative increase). We show that our measure of rental costs seems to only affect the food insecurity of renters and not poor low-income home-owners, suggesting the validity of our methods and robustness of the findings. We also look at selected subgroups (e.g., food stamp recipients, individuals receiving housing subsidies) and find few differences in the effects of housing cost increases on food insecurity.

Keywords: Food insecurity, Housing Costs, Expenditure Shocks

JEL Classification: I30

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Andreyeva, Tatiana and Busch, Susan H., Assessing the Effect of Increasing Housing Costs on Food Insecurity (September 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1503043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1503043

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Tatiana Andreyeva

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Susan H. Busch

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

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