How Are Immigrants Faring After Welfare Reform?. Housing Affordability Problems and Food Insecurity


  • Almost one-fifth of low-income immigrant families in Los Angles and over one quarter in New York reported problems paying their rent, mortgage, or utilities during the prior year. High housing costs in both cities contributed to this finding.
  • One-third of all immigrant families in Los Angeles and 31 percent in New York are food insecure. Just over 10 percent experience food insecurity with moderate hunger. Food insecurity and hunger rates are higher for noncitizens than naturalized citizens. The U.S. Current Population Survey reports much lower food insecurity rates for families composed of native-born citizens: 12 percent in Los Angeles and 11 percent in New York.
  • In Los Angeles the rate of food insecurity is twice as high among limited English proficient families (i.e., those in which no adults speak English very well) as among proficient families (40 versus 21 percent). In New York the rate is one and a half times as high for LEP families (36 percent) as it is for proficient families (24 percent). About half of families where adults speak no English at all are food insecure in Los Angeles, and in New York that figure is 57 percent.
  • Thirty-eight percent of immigrant families with children experience food insecurity in both Los Angeles and New York, and about 12 percent experience moderate hunger. In New York half of all single-parent immigrant families with children are food insecure, compared to only about 35 percent of two-parent families. In Los Angeles comparable figures are 45 and 36 percent, respectively, for one and two-parent families.

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