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Homeowner versus non-homeowner differences in household food insecurity in Canada

Abstract

The risk of food insecurity, lack of access to adequate food because of financial constraints, is low for homeowners relative to renters in Canada; yet it is unclear if this is due to the characteristics of who owns versus who rents, or a direct protective effect of homeownership over renting. We examined this question by looking at the correlates of food insecurity among households by homeownership status. We used a population-based sample, the 2009–2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, in which both housing tenure and food insecurity were measured. A decomposition approach allowed us to examine the difference in prevalence of food insecurity between non-homeowner and homeowner households that was not accounted for by household-level characteristics such as income or contextual factors. As expected, household food insecurity was much lower among homeowner households (3.3 %) than non-homeowner households (17.9 %). Household and contextual characteristics accounted for 71 % of the overall difference in the odds of being food insecure, leaving 29 % of the gap attributable to the protective impact of homeownership. Closing this gap could include the introduction of institutional policies that mirror the protection from home equity and governmental policy supports afforded to homeownership.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant MOP-89731 and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Gender and Health. The study was approved by the University of Calgary/Alberta Health Services (Calgary Zone) Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board. We thank Daniel J. Dutton for his assistance with the decomposition statistics.

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Correspondence to Lynn McIntyre.

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McIntyre, L., Wu, X., Fleisch, V.C. et al. Homeowner versus non-homeowner differences in household food insecurity in Canada. J Hous and the Built Environ 31, 349–366 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-015-9461-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-015-9461-6

Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing
  • Homeownership
  • Rental
  • Decomposition statistics
  • Canada