A Household Level Analysis Of Poverty And Food Security Characteristics During The 2007 Recession Within New York City
The objective of this work is two-fold. It will first produce poverty and food security characteristics from the New York City Food Bank 2007 and 2012 Hunger Safety Net surveys which are amenable to policy. Then manipulate current income thresholds to locate opportunities for an improved measure. The surveys used for this analysis were random samples of New York City residents who relied on the NYC Food Bank as a safety net during the recession and recovery spanning years 2007 to 2012. Ideas for this work were drawn from three studies, the first, located poverty determinants within rural and urban Kenyan villages [Geda et. al., 2005] the second, explored food insufficiency as tied to income within the United States [Gundersen et. al, 2001] the third, determined how characteristics of an impoverished population could improve current measures[Leblanc, 2001]. This work utilizes a solid framework of poverty and food insecurity through a thorough literature review and draws a t-test and an OLS Probability model to analyze common characteristics across food bank populations. The results of this work determined that New York City residents rely upon the New York City food bank even if they are not classified as "in poverty" or "food insecure" based on the food stamp eligibility criteria and poverty income thresholds for 2007 and 2012, thus, exploring the question, are current measures for food insecurity and poverty accounting for the entirety of the current need and could additional understanding of those characteristics that are common among this population help improve measures for an overall improved definition of food poverty? By determining common characteristics across the food bank population to test multiple thresholds on the target population I sought to determine whether changes within current income thresholds could account for a larger population in need. Results of the income threshold manipulation displayed a consistent and insignificant change across data contributing additional knowledge to current literature showing that even by manipulating the current income measures, those who rely upon current safety nets are still not accounted for within government measures. As a result, government programming could be improved by reexamining current income thresholds and be redefined including expenditures and additional characteristics that emerge within this work. Additional food poverty characteristics that emerged within this work included disabilities, household income, food stamp participation, race; household size, residence, and education level were significant and consistent across key recession years. While this analysis was not able to analyze the same food bank recipients within 2012 as in 2007, it is interesting to note that overall characteristics of those drawing upon this safety net changed as a potential result of the recession. Recession effects such as education level among this target population showed that while those food bank recipients in 2007 generally obtained less than a 12th grade education, within 2012, those with a degree equivalent to a high school degree were more likely to be in poverty, race and even area of residence also changed across the recession years. As a result, this work contributes significant characteristics and income threshold tests which contribute to overall poverty literature and could inform policy towards improving current measures and defining a new food poverty definition. Key Words: Food Security, Nutrition, Food Stamps, Government Programming, Food
Food Bank; Food Security; Nutrition; Food Stamps; Government Programming; Food; SNAP
Turvey, Calum G.
M.S., Agricultural Economics
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis