Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Review of Economics of the Household, 2016. doi:10.1007/s11150-016-9335-z


Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


Reducing the prevalence of household food insecurity has been a long-standing objective of the federal government. Previous research has found many negative consequences of food insecurity for families and households but has not examined its relationship with housing instability. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, difference-in-difference models show that food insecurity is associated with housing instability. The association remains statistically significant after accounting for potential selection and unobserved heterogeneity using propensity score matching and excluding households that experienced prior housing instability from the sample. Examining potential mediating factors, I find that material hardship explains about half of this association. These findings suggest that maintaining a strong social safety net would reduce the risk that families experience material hardship and housing instability, which may also reduce the risk of homelessness.