Family Structure and Child Food Insecurity

Publication Year
2014

Type

Journal Article
Abstract

Objectives
We examined whether food insecurity was different for children in cohabiting or repartnered families versus those in single-mother or married-parent (biological) families.

Methods
We compared probabilities of child food insecurity (CFI) across different family structures in 4 national data sets: the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—Child Development Supplement (PSID-CDS).

Results
Unadjusted probabilities of CFI in cohabiting or repartnered families were generally higher than in married-biological-parent families and often statistically indistinguishable from those of single-mother families. However, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, most differences between family types were attenuated and most were no longer statistically significant.

Conclusions
Although children whose biological parents are cohabiting or whose biological mothers have repartnered have risks for food insecurity comparable to those in single-mother families, the probability of CFI does not differ by family structure when household income, family size, and maternal race, ethnicity, education, and age were held at mean levels.

Journal
American Journal of Public Health
Volume
104
Issue
7
Pages
e70-e76