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

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Cohabitation Family structure Food Stamp Program participation Fragile Families Income volatility 

References

  1. Bania, N., & Leete, L. (2007, April). Income volatility and food insufficiency in U.S. low-income households, 1992–2003 (Discussion Paper #1325-07). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research on Poverty. Retrieved September 12, 2008, from http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp132507.pdf
  2. Barrett, A., & Poikolainen, A. (2006). Food Stamp Program participation rates: 2004. Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. for the Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved August 17, 2007, from http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/FSP/FILES/Participation/FSPPart2004.pdf
  3. Bartlett, S., & Burstein, N. (2004, May). Food Stamp Program access study: Eligible nonparticipants. Prepared by Abt Associates, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Retrieved July 12, 2007, from http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/efan03013/efan03013-2/efan03013-2.pdf
  4. Bean, F. D., Van Hook, J., & Glick, J. E. (1997). Country of origin, type of public assistance, and patterns of welfare recipiency among U.S. immigrants and natives. Social Science Quarterly, 78(2), 432–451.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S. (1991). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Blank, R. (2002). Evaluating welfare reform in the United States. Journal of Economic Literature, 40(4), 1105–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blank, R. M., & Ruggles, P. (1996). When do women use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The dynamics of eligibility versus participation. Journal of Human Resources, 31(1), 57–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borjas, G., & Hilton, L. (1996). Immigration and the welfare state: Immigrant participation in means-tested entitlement programs. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 111, 575–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, S. L., & Booth, A. (1996). Cohabitation versus marriage: A comparison of relationship quality. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58(3), 668–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cancian, M., Haveman, R., Kaplan, T., Meyer, D. Rothe, I., Wolfe, B., et al. (2001, June). The take-up of Medicaid and food stamps by welfare leavers: The case of Wisconsin (Special Report No. 79). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research on Poverty. Retrieved February 28, 2008, from http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/sr/pdfs/sr79.pdf
  11. Capps, R. (2001, February). Hardship among children of immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America’s Families (Series B, No. B-29). Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  12. Capps, R., Ku, L., & Fix, M. (2002). How are immigrants faring after welfare reform?. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  13. Carlson, M., McLanahan, S., & England, P. (2004). Union formation in Fragile Families. Demography, 41(2), 237–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carmody, K., & Dean, S. (1998). New federal food stamp restoration for legal immigrants: Implications and implementation issues. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.Google Scholar
  15. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW). (2006). Scales documentation and question sources for the Fragile Families three-year follow-up. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University.Google Scholar
  16. Coe, R. D., & Hill, D. H. (1998). Food stamp participation and reasons for nonparticipation: 1986. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 19(2), 107–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Conger, R. D., & Elder, G. H., Jr. (1994). Families in troubled times: Adapting to change in rural America. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  18. Cunnyngham, K. (2002). Trends in Food Stamp Program participation rates: 1994 to 2000 (Report No. 8659-213). Washington DC: Mathematica Policy Research.Google Scholar
  19. Currie, J. (2003). U.S. food and nutrition programs. In R. Moffitt (Ed.), Means-tested transfer programs in the United States (pp. 199–290). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Currie, J., & Stabile, M. (2002). Socioeconomic status and health: Why is the relationship stronger for older children? (Working Paper No. 9098). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  21. Daponte, B. O., Sanders, S., & Taylor, L. (1999). Why do low-income households now use food stamps? Evidence from an experiment. Journal of Human Resources, 34(3), 612–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Edin, K., & Reed, J. M. (2005). Why don’t they just get married? Barriers to marriage among the disadvantaged. The Future of Children, 15(2), 117–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Farrell, M., Fishman, M., Langley, M., & Stapleton, D. (2003). The relationship of earnings and income to food stamp participation: A longitudinal analysis (E-FAN No. 03-011). Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Google Scholar
  24. Fix, M., & Passel, J. (1999). Trends in noncitizens’ and citizens’ use of public benefits following welfare reform (Urban Institute Research Report). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  25. Food & Nutrition Service. (2006). WIC program coverage: How many eligible individuals participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): 1994 to 2003? Retrieved January 5, 2007, from http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/menu/Published/WIC/FILES/WICEligibles.pdf
  26. Gleason, P., Schochet, P., & Moffitt, R. (1998). The dynamics of Food Stamp Program participation in the early 1990s. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved June 14, 2007, from http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/FSP/FILES/Participation/DYNAMICS.PDF
  27. Kenney, C. (2003). Hardship in married and cohabiting parent households: Do cohabiting parents underinvest in household public goods? (Working Paper #2003-11-FF). Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Wellbeing.Google Scholar
  28. Kenney, C. (2004). Cohabiting couple, filing jointly? Resource pooling and U.S. poverty policies. Family Relations, 53(2), 237–247.Google Scholar
  29. Knab, J. T., Garfinkel, I., & McLanahan, S. (2008). The effects of welfare and child support policies on maternal health and wellbeing. In R. F. Schoeni, J. S. House, G. A. Kaplan, & H. Pollack (Eds.), Making Americans healthier: Social and economic policy as health policy (pp. 281–305). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Lichter, D. T., Qian, Z.-C., & Mellott, L. (2006). Marriage or dissolution? Transitions to marriage among poor cohabiting women. Demography, 43(2), 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maloy, K. A., Darnell, J., Nolan, L., Kenney, K. A., & Cyprien, S. (2000). Effects of the 1996 welfare and immigration reform laws on the ability and willingness of immigrants to access Medicaid and health care services. Washington, DC: George Washington University, Center for Health Services Research and Policy.Google Scholar
  32. Mauldin, T. A., & Mimura, Y. (2007). Marrying, unmarrying, and poverty dynamics among mothers with children living at home. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28, 566–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mayer, S. (1997). What money can’t buy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. McConnell, S. (1991). The increase in food stamp participation between 1989 and 1990. A Report to Congress. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research.Google Scholar
  35. McConnell, S., & Nixon, L. (1996). Reaching the working poor and the poor elderly: Report on literature review and data analysis. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research.Google Scholar
  36. McKernan, S.-M., & Ratcliffe, C. (2003). Employment factors influencing Food Stamp Program participation: Final report. Washington, DC: USDA, Economic Research Service.Google Scholar
  37. Micklewright, J., & Schnepf, S. V. (2007, November). How reliable are income data collected with a single question? (IZA Discussion No. 3177). Retrieved March 2, 2008, from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1047981
  38. Moffitt, R. (1983). An economic model of welfare stigma. American Economic Review, 73(5), 1023–1035.Google Scholar
  39. Nepomnyaschy, L. (2007). Child support and father–child contact: Testing reciprocal pathways. Demography, 44(1), 93–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Newman, C. (2006, August). The income volatility see-saw: Implications for school lunch (Economic Research Report No. 23). Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.Google Scholar
  41. Padilla, Y. C., Radey, M. D., Kim, E., & Hummer, R. A. (2006). The living conditions of U.S.-born children of Mexican immigrants in unmarried families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 28(3), 331–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ponza, M., Ohls, J. C., Moreno, L., Zambrowski, A., & Cohen, R. (1999). Customer service in the Food Stamp Program: Final report. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research.Google Scholar
  43. Quint, J., & Widom, R. (2001). Post-TANF food stamp and Medicaid benefits: Factors that aid or impede their receipt. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. Retrieved October 10, 2006, from http://www.mdrc.org/publications/84/full.pdf
  44. Reichman, N., Teitler, J., Garfinkel, I., & McLanahan, S. (2001). Fragile Families: Sample and design. Children and Youth Services Review, 23(4/5), 303–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosenbaum, D., & Super, D. (2005). The Food Stamp Program, working smarter for working families. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.Google Scholar
  46. Sassler, S., & McNally, J. (2003). Cohabiting couples economic circumstances and union transitions: A re-examination using multiple imputation techniques. Social Science Research, 32(4), 553–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schott, L., Dean, S., & Guyer, J. (2001). Coordinating Medicaid and Food Stamps: How new Food Stamp policies can reduce barriers to health care coverage for low-income working families. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.Google Scholar
  48. Snyder, A. R., & McLaughlin, D. K. (2006). Economic well-being and cohabitation: Another nonmetro disadvantage? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27, 562–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stets, J. (1991). Cohabiting and marital aggression: The role of social isolation. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 669–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Swanson, J. A., Olson, C. M., Miller, E. O., & Lawrence, F. C. (2008). Rural mothers’ use of formal programs and informal social supports to meet family food needs: A mixed methods study. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29(4), 674–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Treas, J., & Giesen, D. (2000). Sexual infidelity among married and cohabiting Americans. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 48–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2001). 2000 census of population and housing, United States, profiles of general demographic characteristics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  53. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2006). Local area unemployment statistics. Retrieved October 2, 2006, from http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?la
  54. U.S. Committee on Ways and Means. (1998). 1998 green book (Ways and Means Committee Print No. 105-7). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  55. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2009, July 6). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Applicants and recipients. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/applicant_recipients/apply.htm
  56. Walters, E. E., Kessler, R. C., Nelson, C. B., & Mroczek, D. (2002). Scoring the World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form (CIDI-SF). Retrieved September 12, 2008, from http://cfspod.net/Document%20files/Poole/CIDISFScoringMemo12-03-02.pdf
  57. Weagley, R. O., Chan, M.-L., & Yan, J. (2007). Married couples’ time allocation decisions and marital stability. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28, 507–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yeung, W. J., & Hofferth, S. L. (1998). Family adaptations to income and job loss in the U.S. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 19(3), 255–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yeung, J., Linver, M., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2002). How money matters for young children’s development: Parental investment and family processes. Child Development, 73, 1861–1879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Yoshikawa, H., Lugo-Gil, J., Chaudry, A., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. (2005, April). How lower income immigrant parents in New York City learn about and navigate U.S. programs and policies for families and children. Paper presented at the biennial conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  61. Zedlewski, S., & Gruber, A. (2001, March). Former welfare families continue to leave the Food Stamp Program (ANF Discussion Paper No. 01-05). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Retrieved April 12, 2007, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/discussion01-05.pdf
  62. Zimmerman, W., & Tumlin, K. (1999, May). Patchwork policies: State assistance for immigrants under welfare reform (Occasional Paper No. 24). Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations