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Analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the impact of family structure on children's well-being in the United States


  • Shishu Zhang
  • Gregory J. Soukup


Different family structures can significantly impact the well-being of children. From 1980 to 2008, reported births to unwed mothers in the United States rose from 18.4% to 40.6% and children in single-parent households in the United States increased from 19.5% to 29.5%. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) (2001--2005) collected data on 13 582 American children 5--19 years old. A multiple-regression analysis tested for differences regarding family structure and income and the MEPS results on physical health, mental health, Body Mass Index (BMI) and class attendance. Level of significance for the study was p > 0.05. Children from single-mother households had significantly higher absentee rates than children from single-father households. Children from single-father families had significantly better rates of well-being when compared to single-mother families in general by income level. Children from higher income households had significantly better rates of mental and physical health and lower BMI and absentee rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Shishu Zhang & Gregory J. Soukup, 2012. "Analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the impact of family structure on children's well-being in the United States," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(18), pages 1879-1883, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:19:y:2012:i:18:p:1879-1883
    DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2012.669458

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    1. Gomis-Porqueras, Pedro & Moslehi, Solmaz & Suen, Richard M.H., 2016. "The role of dietary choices and medical expenditures on health outcomes when health shocks are endogenous," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 13-25.

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