Place based variation in food insecurity transitions with policy applications




Kinnison, Paul C.

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In 2014, 14 percent of United States Households were food insecure (Coleman-Jensen et al. 2015). Trends in food insecurity in the United States demonstrate a slight increase in overall level of food insecurity in the last 19 years. Results of the statistical analysis show that the determinants of food insecurity and poverty are strongly correlated. By drawing on components of the poverty framework, this dissertation shows that individual households that are in poverty are 4.68 times more likely to suffer from persistent food insecurity than non-poor households. Controlling for the components of the Poverty framework, and incorporating contextual covariates, it also shows that the local food environment presents an additional risk factor in a household's likelihood of entering food insecurity over time. Using a multilevel discrete time hazard model, the risk of transitioning into food insecurity is 46 percent higher for households living in low income food deserts. These results shed light on how local food environments affect a household's risk of entering a state of food insecurity net of risk indicators such as household income, parental education, family composition and employment while controlling for socio-economic status (SES) and socio-demographic characteristics of neighborhoods in the United States. Examination of food deserts in Brazoria County, Texas, and the populations at risk of food insecurity in specific places as a result of their local food context finds that populations living in food deserts face compounded disadvantages not only from reduced access to food resources, but also are worse off in the components of the poverty framework than populations in higher income/non-food desert areas.


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Food Accessibility, Food Deserts, Food Insecurity, Poverty, Poverty Framework, Regional Planning