This report presents evidence that spikes in regional and household characteristics played a significant role in the observed 2008 increase in child with very low food security and low food security. Perhaps not surprisingly, unemployment of the household head is found to substantially increase the probability of very low food security and low food insecurity among children. Further, simulations of changes in regional economic conditions indicate rising unemployment rates during the Great Recession explain a significant portion of observed increases in child food insecurity.
In 2007, about 3.3 million households in the U.S. (8.3 percent of households with children) had fchildren who lacked consistent access to an adequate food supply, implying less than complete coverage of children by the food-assistance safety net. We use the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) to estimate the effect of food stamp participation on child food security. Our results indicate that food stamps play an important role in protecting the well-being of needy children by improving food security among children in low-income households who are faced with economic shocks.