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

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-009-9168-5

Cite this article as:
Hernandez, D.C. & Ziol-Guest, K.M. J Fam Econ Iss (2009) 30: 357. doi:10.1007/s10834-009-9168-5


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.


Cohabitation Family structure Food Stamp Program participation Fragile Families Income volatility 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Children and PovertyNew YorkUSA

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