Feeding America Amid COVID-19: Food Market, Pandemic Policy, and Food Insecurity Outcomes

Authors: JungHo Park, SURE Education Research Group at the Department of Smart City in Chung-Ang University, Chaeri Kim*, PennDesign City and Regional Department, Seulgi Son, Urban and Regional Planning - Taubman College - University of Michigan
Topics: Food Systems, United States, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, food insecurity, federal food program, state reopening policy, pandemic market condition
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 38
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic is known to be much worse than the pre-pandemic era, with its large variations across people and places. By using multilevel mixed-effects models with the Household Pulse Survey, a new nationally representative data timely deployed by the U.S. Census Bureau, we measure and examine food insecurity during the pandemic in the U.S. A wide range of statewide characteristics – pandemic market conditions, federal programs and state policies, and pre-pandemic socioeconomic contexts – were associated with individual Americans’ COVID-19 food insecurity. The association was unequal across household incomes, showing strong connections between higher-income households and market conditions in addition to an important role of federal programs and state policies in easing food insecurity among lower-income households. The incidence of food insecurity also substantially overlapped with other socioeconomic hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as employment income loss, housing instability, and health problem. Put together, our findings substantiate an important role of statewide contexts in explaining the incidence and prevalence of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding new light on the role of state government in addressing COVID-19 food insecurity.

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