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Food Insecurity and Homelessness in the Journeys Home Survey


  • Nicolas Herault

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • David C. Ribar

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families Over the Life Course; Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA))


Homelessness not only deprives people of comfort, safety, and dignity but may also cause other problems, including food insecurity. In this study, we use data from the Journeys Home survey, a large national longitudinal survey of disadvantaged Australians who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, to estimate multivariate ordered categorical variable models of the association between homelessness and food insecurity. The Journeys Home survey includes an extensive set of measures of people’s circumstances that we include in our models. We also estimate dummy endogenous variable specifications. All our specifications indicate that homelessness is associated with higher (worse) food insecurity for men. We also find unconditional associations in the same direction for women, but these become statistically insignificant when we include extensive sets of observed controls in our models or estimate dummy endogenous variable specifications. We also investigate how homelessness is related to food consumption, meal consumption, and food expenditures. Food expenditures are negatively associated with homelessness for men in all our specifications; however, the other food outcomes for men and women do not show consistent, statistically significant associations.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Herault & David C. Ribar, 2016. "Food Insecurity and Homelessness in the Journeys Home Survey," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2016n15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dachner, Naomi & Tarasuk, Valerie, 2002. "Homeless "squeegee kids": Food insecurity and daily survival," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1039-1049, April.
    2. Barrett, Christopher B., 2002. "Food security and food assistance programs," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 2103-2190 Elsevier.
    3. Timothy M. Diette & David C. Ribar, 2018. "A Longitudinal Analysis Of Violence And Housing Insecurity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(3), pages 1602-1621, July.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2013.301318_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mark Wooden & Andrew Bevitt & Abraham Chigavazira & Nancy Greer & Guy Johnson & Eoin Killackey & Julie Moschion & Rosanna Scutella & Yi-Ping Tseng & Nicole Watson, 2012. "Introducing ‘Journeys Home’," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 45(3), pages 368-378, September.
    6. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Herault, Nicolas & Scutella, Rosanna & Tseng, Yi-Ping, 2016. "A journey home: What drives how long people are homeless?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 57-72.
    7. Craig Gundersen & David Ribar, 2011. "Food Insecurity And Insufficiency At Low Levels Of Food Expenditures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 704-726, December.
    8. Christiana Miewald & Aleck Ostry, 2014. "A Warm Meal and a Bed: Intersections of Housing and Food Security in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(6), pages 709-729, September.
    9. Robert A. Moffitt & David C. Ribar, 2016. "Rasch Analyses of Very Low Food Security among Households and Children in the Three City Study," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1123-1146, April.
    10. Erling Andersen, 1977. "Sufficient statistics and latent trait models," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 42(1), pages 69-81, March.
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    12. Bhattacharya, Jayanta & Currie, Janet & Haider, Steven, 2004. "Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 839-862, July.
    13. Roodman, David, 2011. "Fitting fully observed recursive mixed-process models with cmp," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 11(2), pages 1-48.
    14. Gundersen, Craig & Weinreb, Linda & Wehler, Cheryl & Hosmer, David, 2003. "Homelessness and food insecurity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 250-272, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johnson, Guy & Ribar, David C. & Zhu, Anna, 2017. "Women's Homelessness: International Evidence on Causes, Consequences, Coping and Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 10614, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Food insecurity; food consumption; food expenditures; homelessness; Journeys Home survey;

    JEL classification:

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

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