, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 357-371
Date: 29 Aug 2009

Income Volatility and Family Structure Patterns: Association with Stability and Change in Food Stamp Program Participation

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Using the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, this research investigated how income volatility and family structure patterns influence participation patterns of stability and change in Food Stamp Program participation among a sample of young families (n = 1,263). Multinomial logistic regression models suggested that families that experienced significant declines in income were more likely to persistently participate and initiate participation than to never participate. Furthermore, stably married families were more likely to never participate; while other stable family structures (cohabitating couples and singles) and transitional unions were associated with persistent participation compared to other participation patterns. Immigration status, health, multiple indicators of economic hardship, and participant access rates were also significant in predicting patterns of participation. Strategies to increase participation are discussed.