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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Food Insufficiency: Evidence From a Statewide Probability Sample

This study examines racial/ethnic disparities in the experience of food insufficiency among families with infants, focusing on the roles of socioeconomic characteristics. We examine the SEED for Oklahoma Kids experiment data collected from a probability sample of White, African American, American Indian, and Hispanic caregivers of infants randomly selected from Oklahoma’s birth certificates (N = 2,52). Data are analyzed using Fairlie’s extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition. Whites experience food insufficiency at a statistically significantly lower rate than do the three minority groups. Estimates suggest most of the racial/ethnic disparity in food insufficiency is explained by compositional differences in economic and noneconomic resources between Whites and minority groups. In particular, lower levels of asset ownership and access to credit among minority groups are estimated to contribute to higher levels of food insufficiency in comparison with Whites. Conclusions: Higher levels of food insufficiency among racial/ethnic minority families call for interventions for these families.


Nam, Y., Huang, J., Heflin, C. M., & Sherraden, M. (2015). Racial and ethnic disparities in food insufficiency: Evidence from a statewide probability sample. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 6(2), 201–228. doi:10.1086/681574