The Surprising Interactive Effect of Race and High Poverty on Food Insecurity
Khan, Ahmed Jehangir
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Existing research has identified multiple factors contributing to food insecurity in the United States – notably, among others, race and poverty. However, it is unknown how these factors interact to create variations in food insecurity by demographic. Using data from the 2018 Current Population Survey’s Food Security Supplement in probit regression, this analysis finds that race and poverty significantly interact. Further, the direction of the interaction runs counter to expectation. Although, as expected, minorities remain at a higher risk of food insecurity than (non-Hispanic) Whites do overall, for minorities the interaction is associated with lowering the probability of food insecurity by 0.74% and for Whites the interaction is associated with increasing the probability by 0.21%. This surprising finding potentially impacts hundreds of thousands of people. It also carries important implications for food-aid programs and opens up avenues for further research to understand the impact of race and culture on food insecurity.