Food insecurity, defined as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food, is a substantial threat to public health in the United States. In 2017, nearly 12% of households reported being food insecure, affecting over 40 million persons.
In the early 90’s, the United States reformed its welfare system through state waivers and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. These changes altered family resources and potential investments for childhood human capital, which in turn could affect later adult outcomes. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I examine the long-run impact of growing up under welfare reform on adult education and family structure through age 28. I find that as children, these individuals have higher reading test scores by an average of 6% of a standard deviation.