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Household composition and experiences of food insecurity in Nigeria: the role of social capital, education, and time use

Abstract

The relationship between family structure and economic wellbeing has been widely documented. However, recent demographic shifts necessitate further exploration of the interrelationships between household composition and socioeconomic resources in relation to food insecurity. The Nigerian General Household Survey data was used to analyze three mechanisms - social capital, education and time use - by which the number of children and the presence of a disabled older adult in the household related to household food insecurity. A significantly higher risk of severe food insecurity occurred among households with children and those with a disabled elderly person. Financial support from friends, relatives, and moneylenders was associated with higher, rather than lower, risks of food insecurity. Time spent collecting cooking fuel significantly modified the relationship between number of children and food insecurity. The greater the time spent fetching cooking fuel, the smaller the gap in food security status between households with no children and those having children. These findings call for interventions aimed at combating poverty and hunger, targeting specifically households with children and those with elderly disabled persons. Further, they show the importance of reducing the amount of time it takes for households to access fuel for cooking. Also, addressing the unmet need for contraception in Nigeria may help to reduce the rate of unplanned childbearing, thereby improving household food security.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A model is a mathematical representation of how different characteristics relate to an outcome in the population. The multinomial logistic regression models (Models 1–7) (presented in Table 2) estimate the likelihood of a household reporting moderate and severe food insecurity, relative to being food secure, based on number of children, presence of an older adult with a disability, and other household characteristics. Different characteristics are included in different models to show the effects of household composition on household food insecurity after accounting for the effects of other factors that may also affect household food insecurity status. Since the dependent variable (food insecurity status of household) has three (M) categories, with the first category (food secure) being the reference category, the probability of reporting moderate food insecurity (m = 2) or severe food insecurity (m = 3) is compared to the probability of being food secure (m = 1, reference category). This requires two (M-1) equations.

    For m = 2, 3,

    $$ P\left({Y}_i=m\right)=\frac{\exp \left({\upbeta}_iX\right)}{1+{\sum}_{k=1}^m\exp \left({\upbeta}_kX\right)} $$

    Where X is the vector of the predictors, β is the vector of the parameters associated with the predictors, and k is the base outcome.

    For the reference category (m = 1),

    $$ P\left({Y}_i=1\right)=\frac{1}{1+{\sum}_{k=1}^m\exp \left({\upbeta}_kX\right)} $$

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Acknowledgements

The author greatly appreciates the contributions to this research made by Wendy D. Manning, Kelly S. Balistreri, Karen B. Guzzo, and Kara Joyner, professors at Bowling Green State University, USA.

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Correspondence to Esther O. Lamidi.

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Lamidi, E.O. Household composition and experiences of food insecurity in Nigeria: the role of social capital, education, and time use. Food Sec. 11, 201–218 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-019-00886-2

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Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • Household composition
  • Children
  • Older adults
  • Disabilities
  • Cooking fuel