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The Relationship between Food Assistance, the Value of Food Acquired, and Household Food security


  • Beth Osborne
  • Melvin Stephens


The research presented examines household food spending relative to households need for food and the relationship between food expenditures and measures of food security. Using data from the Current Population Survey and the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we find that Food Stamp households that do not receive at least 75% of their (Extended) Thrifty Food Plan amount from Food Stamps are worse off with respect to their food expenditures than those that receive at least 75% of their needs from the Food Stamp program. While having an elderly person in the home is associated with a higher probability of not spending enough on food, households with at least one elderly person have a lower probability of reporting food insecurity than statistically comparable households. We find that among Food Stamp participating households, those that achieve at least 90 percent of their Thrifty Food Plan amount devote lower shares of their expenditures to apparel, child care, housing, utilities, and entertainment relative to the households that do not achieve this food expenditure threshold.

Suggested Citation

  • Beth Osborne & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "The Relationship between Food Assistance, the Value of Food Acquired, and Household Food security," Working Papers 0408, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0408

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.


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