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Food and Nutrition Assistance Research Reports Database

Project: Basic Needs, Tough Choices: The Impact of Housing Costs on Food Consumption
Award Year: 2000
Amount of award, fiscal 2000: $100,318.00
Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Principal Investigator: Joseph Harkness
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This project examines the effects of housing costs on food consumption for low-income households. The tradeoff that low-income households make between housing, which accounts for the largest share of their budget, and food consumption has received little research attention. Food Stamp Program regulations adjust benefits for excess housing costs. The study will merge data on local housing market conditions with data from the 1998 Current Population Survey's Food Security Supplement to examine for low-income households how housing affordability affects two outcome variables: food expenditures and food security. The project will focus on both food expenditures and food security as dependent variables that may be affected by housing costs.

The Food Stamp Program regulations account for the tradeoff between housing and food costs through the excess shelter deduction, which provides greater food stamp benefit levels for households with higher housing costs. The study will consider the effectiveness of the excess shelter deduction. It will also examine variations in food stamp take-up rates that are associated with the characteristics of housing markets across the country. The researchers will create a unique data set that contains information on local housing market conditions from the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association cost-of-living indices, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Market Rents data, and the 1995 Assisted Housing database, and will merge this with the data from the 1998 CPS Food Security Supplement.

The researchers will use descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis to examine how the variation in housing costs is associated with food expenditures and food security. This information will provide valuable information on the potentially negative repercussions of housing costs on food consumption and the effectiveness of the excess shelter deduction in addressing this problem.

Topic: Food Security
Dataset: Current Population Survey food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS)

Last updated: Thursday, April 21, 2016

For more information contact: Victor Oliveira