January 16, 2013
Economics researchers at SMU will analyze the roles social networks and isolation play in fighting hunger in North Texas. A $120,000 grant from the North Texas Food Bank is funding the research.
Recent studies have examined the role of income and assets in fighting hunger or food insecurity, but have found that household economic resources are not the only factor contributing to food insecurity, says Thomas B. Fomby, SMU professor of economics and director of the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies
According the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about one in six U.S. households are affected by food insecurity, meaning not enough food at all times to sustain active, healthy lives for all family members.
Fomby and Daniel Millimet, SMU professor of economics, are conducting the study.
"This study will analyze the role of other factors causing food insecurity, such as urban or rural settings, access to nutrition assistance programs, access to inexpensive groceries, family support and social stigma," Fomby says.
According to statistics from the Texas Hunger Initiative, 27 percent of food-insecure residents in Dallas County are ineligible for most nutrition assistance programs because their incomes exceed the poverty level. In contrast, 56 percent of households with children and an income below the poverty level were not food insecure.
"With this research, we expect to better understand the causes of food insecurity in North Texas and improve the assessment of at-risk households," Fomby says....