Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 499–515 | Cite as

Household Finance and Food Insecurity

  • Yunhee Chang
  • Swarn Chatterjee
  • Jinhee Kim
Original Paper


Despite repeated expansions of federal food assistance, food insecurity and hunger continue to affect many Americans. While job loss and poverty are among major contributors, theoretical and empirical literature suggest that households’ ability to borrow and save might provide a buffer protecting from food insecurity. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we tested whether liquidity constraint, asset inadequacy, and insolvency risk defined based on financial ratios could predict household food insecurity separately from the effects of income and program participation. Results showed that a household’s liquidity constraint and asset inadequacy were linked with increased risk of food insecurity at all income levels, although the association was strongest among poor households and those with incomes slightly above the federal food assistance eligibility threshold. Unlike indications from qualitative literature, financial constraint appeared to be an exogenous determinant of household food insecurity. Implications for financial practitioners and policymakers are discussed.


Food insecurity Financial strain Liquidity constraint Asset poverty SNAP 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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