Household composition and experiences of food insecurity in Nigeria: the role of social capital, education, and time use

  • Esther O. LamidiEmail author
Original Paper


The relationship between family structure and economic wellbeing has been widely documented. However, recent demographic shifts necessitate further exploration of the interrelationships between household composition and socioeconomic resources in relation to food insecurity. The Nigerian General Household Survey data was used to analyze three mechanisms - social capital, education and time use - by which the number of children and the presence of a disabled older adult in the household related to household food insecurity. A significantly higher risk of severe food insecurity occurred among households with children and those with a disabled elderly person. Financial support from friends, relatives, and moneylenders was associated with higher, rather than lower, risks of food insecurity. Time spent collecting cooking fuel significantly modified the relationship between number of children and food insecurity. The greater the time spent fetching cooking fuel, the smaller the gap in food security status between households with no children and those having children. These findings call for interventions aimed at combating poverty and hunger, targeting specifically households with children and those with elderly disabled persons. Further, they show the importance of reducing the amount of time it takes for households to access fuel for cooking. Also, addressing the unmet need for contraception in Nigeria may help to reduce the rate of unplanned childbearing, thereby improving household food security.


Food insecurity Household composition Children Older adults Disabilities Cooking fuel 



The author greatly appreciates the contributions to this research made by Wendy D. Manning, Kelly S. Balistreri, Karen B. Guzzo, and Kara Joyner, professors at Bowling Green State University, USA.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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© International Society for Plant Pathology and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado, Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA

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