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Understanding Persistent Food Insecurity: A Paradox of Place and Circumstance

Author

Listed:
  • Sheila Mammen

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Jean W. Bauer

    () (Department of Family Social Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN)

  • Leslie Richards

    () (Department of Human Development & Family Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR)

Abstract

Survey data from a USDA-funded multi-state longitudinal project revealed a paradox where rural low-income families from states considered prosperous were persistently more food insecure than similar families from less prosperous states. An examination of quantitative and qualitative data found that families in the food insecure states were more likely to experience greater material hardship and incur greater housing costs than families in the food secure states. Families in the food insecure states, however, did not have lower per capita median incomes or lower life satisfaction than those in the food secure states. A wide range of strategies to cope with food insecurity reported by families in both food insecure and food secure states was examined using the Family Ecological Systems Theory. Families in the food insecure states used several risky consumption reduction strategies such as curbing their appetite and using triage. Families in the food secure states, on the other hand, employed positive techniques involving their human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheila Mammen & Jean W. Bauer & Leslie Richards, 2008. "Understanding Persistent Food Insecurity: A Paradox of Place and Circumstance," Working Papers 2008-6, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2008-6
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    File URL: http://courses.umass.edu/resec/workingpapers/documents/ResEcWorkingPaper2008-6.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Susan E. Mayer & Christopher Jencks, 1989. "Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 88-114.
    2. Judi Bartfeld & Rachel Dunifon, 2006. "State-level predictors of food insecurity among households with children," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 921-942.
    3. Ribar, David C. & Hamrick, Karen S., 2003. "Dynamics Of Poverty And Food Sufficiency," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33851, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2001:91:5:781-786_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    persistent food insecurity; rural low-income families; food coping strategies; Family Ecological systems; material hardship;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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