Economic Instability, Food Insecurity, and Child Health in the Wake of the Great Recession

Social Service Review, Volume 91, Number 4, December 2017

American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 3086934

Posted: 13 Dec 2017

See all articles by Sharon Wolf

Sharon Wolf

University of Pennsylvania

Taryn Morrissey

American University - Department of Public Administration and Policy

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Although there is a wealth of research on the relationship between income level and employment status and child well-being, the relationship between economic instability and health during early childhood is understudied. We examine the associations between the incidence, accumulation, and timing of intrayear employment and income instability with household and child food insecurity and child health using a nationally representative sample of households. The sample includes children age 3–5 from households in the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (N=5,056N=5,056). We find that young children’s households experience high levels of both income and employment instability. Both the incidence and the accumulation of instability predict poorer child outcomes, more recent instability is more strongly associated with child outcomes, and these relations are stronger for children with less educated parents. Employment and income changes have separate, unique associations with each outcome and operate in somewhat different ways.

Keywords: child health, early childhood development, employment instability, food insecurity, income instability

Suggested Citation

Wolf, Sharon and Morrissey, Taryn, Economic Instability, Food Insecurity, and Child Health in the Wake of the Great Recession (2017). Social Service Review, Volume 91, Number 4, December 2017; American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 3086934. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3086934

Sharon Wolf

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Taryn Morrissey (Contact Author)

American University - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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