Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Disability As a Risk Factor for Food Insecurity, Comparing Estimates from the CPS and NHIS

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 9:30 AM
Orchid B (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Alisha Coleman-Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Disabilities have been identified as a critical risk factor for food insecurity (Coleman-Jensen and Nord, 2013). Households that include a working-age adult with a disability have a higher likelihood of food insecurity. Using 2010 and 2011 national data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS), this prior research found that one-third of households that included a working-age adult who was not in the labor force due to disability were food insecure while 12 percent of households with no adults age 18-64 with disabilities were food insecure. One quarter of households with adults age 18-64 with disabilities that did not prevent labor force participation were food insecure. Food-insecure households had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Reduced income and earnings and higher expenses are related to, but do not fully explain, the higher likelihood of food insecurity among those with disabilities. Research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms through which disabilities affect food security.

In the CPS, disability is measured with a set of six standard questions now included in numerous Federal surveys. These six questions enable the identification of persons with specific types of disabilities, including physical, cognitive, vision, hearing, self-care, and going-outside-home (difficulty doing errands alone because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition) disabilities. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) includes these six standard questions about disability and also identifies other health limitations and conditions. This research will examine the relationship between food insecurity and disability in the NHIS. The NHIS provides more detailed information on the characteristics of those with disabilities including duration of disability, types of limitations, diagnosis of chronic disease or other impairments, and healthcare utilization. Thus, this research will expand on prior research using the CPS-FSS with a more detailed analysis of health factors related to food insecurity and disability.

This research will compare the relationship between food security and disability in the CPS-FSS and NHIS and will compare different indicators of disability in the NHIS. Multivariate models will examine the correlates of food insecurity among persons with disabilities in the NHIS. The analysis will utilize CPS-FSS and NHIS data from 2013 and 2014. Both the FSS and NHIS include measures of food insecurity among household adults in the 30 days prior to the survey.


Coleman-Jensen, A. and M. Nord. 2013. Food Insecurity Among Households With Working-Age Adults with Disabilities. Economic Research Report Number 144. Washington, DC, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Available at: