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Decomposing the Household Food Insecurity Gap for Children of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born Hispanics: Evidence from 1998 to 2011

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Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-K, multivariate analysis, state fixed effects, and regression decomposition, we examine changes in food insecurity for Hispanic kindergarteners between 1998 and 2011, a time period of rapid immigration and political/socio-economic changes. During this time the household food insecurity gap between children of U.S.-born and foreign-born mothers increased by almost 7 percentage points. The factors—child, family, and state—that contributed to the nativity gap differed over time. In both periods, lower familial resources among immigrant families, i.e. endowment effects, contributed to the gap; this was the main component of the gap in 2011 but only one component in 1998. In 1998, heterogeneity in state effects was positively associated with the nativity food insecurity gap. This means that children of foreign-born mothers experience higher household food insecurity than do children of U.S.-born mothers in the same state, even after controlling for child and family characteristics. In 2011, almost half of the gap remained unexplained. This unexplained portion could be driven by differential effects of the Great Recession, growing anti-immigrant sentiment, and/or the relatively large share of unauthorized immigrants in 2011.

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The authors wish to thank the University of Missouri’s Research Board for its grant support. We are also thankful to Christal Hamilton for her research assistance.


This study was funded by the University of Missouri Research Board Grant.

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Correspondence to Irma Arteaga.

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Arteaga, Potochnick and Parsons declares that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Arteaga, I., Potochnick, S. & Parsons, S. Decomposing the Household Food Insecurity Gap for Children of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born Hispanics: Evidence from 1998 to 2011. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 1050–1058 (2017).

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