Assessing the Effect of Increasing Housing Costs on Food Insecurity
21 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2009
Date Written: September 9, 2009
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: Suggested Citation