This project examines why very low food security status among children is different across households with very similar measured resources. Controlling for measures of income-to-needs, we examine whether elements in the!environment, household characteristics, or behaviors are systematically correlated with VLFS among children. We use different measures of income-to-needs, including those averaged across years to capture “permanent” income (or to average out measurement error) and measures that include income after taxes and transfers. Our analysis uses the Current Population Survey (across many years, matched December to March), the American Time Use Survey (matched to the December CPS), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999-2010), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We find that, no matter how we control for income-to-needs, certain characteristics appear to be systematically correlated with VLFS among children. In particular, mental and physical disabilities of the household head are strongly correlated with!VLFS among children. The presence of teenage children, holding other aspects of household size and composition constant, predict VLFS among children,suggesting that larger children require more food. Finally, participating in transfer programs is correlated with VLFS among children, suggesting that these households are in the “system.” These patterns suggest pathways for future research and future policy actions to address VLFS among children.

Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date


Discussion Paper Number

DP 2014-08