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Effects of Child Health on Sources of Public Support


  • Nancy E. Reichman

    () (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)

  • Hope Corman

    () (Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Kelly Noonan

    () (Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research)


We estimate the effects of having a child in poor health on the mother's receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and public support in the form of food (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC] or food stamps), health insurance (Medicaid), and housing. We find that mothers with unhealthy children are between 2 and 8 percentage points (8–33%) more likely to rely on TANF than those with healthy children. There are stronger effects for mothers with older children than for those having first births. Mothers of children in poor health are also more likely than those with healthy children to receive SSI, Medicaid, and housing assistance but not WIC or food stamps. Given the restrictive new welfare environment, mothers who rely on TANF to cope with the burden of caring for unhealthy infants may soon encounter difficulties making ends meet and have insufficient resources to invest in their children's health.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2006. "Effects of Child Health on Sources of Public Support," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 136-156, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:73:1:y:2006:p:136-156

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pri:crcwel:wp12-03-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marah A. Curtis & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman, 2012. "Life Shocks and Homelessness," Working Papers 1374, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    3. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2011. "Life Shocks and Crime: A Test of the “Turning Point” Hypothesis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 1177-1202, August.
    4. Hope Corman & Anne Carroll & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman, 2006. "The Effects of Health on Health Insurance Status in Fragile Families," NBER Working Papers 12197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Reichman, Nancy E., 2014. "Effects of infant health on family food insecurity: Evidence from two U.S. birth cohort studies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 18-25.
    6. Marah Curtis & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy Reichman, 2013. "Life Shocks and Homelessness," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 2227-2253, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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