Measures of Material Hardship: Final Report. Joint Frequency of Basic Needs and Food Security

04/01/2004

Each of the basic needs hardships is experienced by fewer than 15% of households and is a strong predictor of other types of hardship. Some of these relationships are definitional (i.e., all households that were food insecure with hunger were also food insecure). However, strong relationships also are seen across domains. For example, among the 8% of households with children that did not always pay their rent or mortgage, nearly two-thirds (64%) also did not always pay their utility bills, nearly a third (31%) had their telephone disconnected, and nearly half (46%) were food insecure (Exhibit 4.12, second row(17)). Similarly, among the 12% of households that were food insecure, nearly a third (31%) did not always pay their rent or mortgage, nearly half (49%) did not always pay their utility bills, and nearly a quarter (24%) had their phone disconnected. These findings suggest that households that are in need tend to experience multiple hardships.

Similar qualitative patterns, at somewhat higher rates, are seen when the sample is restricted to households under 100% FPL. (Exhibit 4.13) That is, among households with less income, it is even more likely that those experiencing one hardship will also experience another. While "only" 46% of households with children that missed a rent or mortgage payment were also food insecure, among those under 100% FPL the corresponding proportion was 56%.

Exhibit 4.12
Joint Frequency of Basic Needs and Food Security Measures
  Did not pay rent or mortgage Evicted for failure to pay rent or mortgage Did not pay gas, oil, or electricity bill Lost gas, oil, or electricity for failure to pay Telephone disconnected for failure to pay Needed to see doctor or go to hospital but did not Needed to see dentist but did not Food insecure Food insecure with hunger
Overall Frequency 8.3 0.4 14.4 2.2 6.2 7.3 10.2 12.2 4.6
Did not pay rent or mortgage 100.0 4.5 63.6 14.4 31.3 27.9 32.7 45.9 23.0
Evicted for failure to pay rent or mortgage 100.0 100.0 72.2 26.5 44.7 29.3 35.3 54.7 20.5
Did not pay gas, oil, or electricity bill 36.4 1.9 100.0 15.1 28.0 24.5 31.0 41.6 19.7
Lost gas, oil, or electricity for failure to pay 54.6 4.5 100.0 100.0 53.8 26.2 37.3 54.3 29.1
Telephone disconnected for failure to pay 41.5 2.7 64.9 18.8 100.0 27.4 32.3 47.1 21.3
Needed to see doctor or go to hospital but did not 31.5 1.5 48.2 7.8 23.4 100.0 64.2 47.3 23.7
Needed to see dentist but did not 26.4 1.3 43.7 7.9 19.7 46.0 100.0 39.2 19.7
Food insecure 31.1 1.7 49.2 9.7 24.0 28.4 32.9 100.0 37.3
Food insecure with hunger 41.8 1.7 62.4 13.9 29.1 38.1 44.2 100.0 100.0
Notes:  Cell entries represent percent of households that have characteristic shown in column, among those that have characteristic shown in row.
Exhibit 4.13
Joint Frequency of Basic Needs and Food Security Measures for Households Under 100% FPL
  Did not pay rent or mortgage Evicted for failure to pay rent or mortgage Did not pay gas, oil, or electricity bill Lost gas, oil, or electricity for failure to pay Telephone disconnected for failure to pay Needed to see doctor or go to hospital but did not Needed to see dentist but did not Food insecure Food insecure with hunger
Overall Frequency 18.2 1.1 29.4 6.0 15.1 14.9 16.8 32.0 12.6
Did not pay rent or mortgage 100.0 6.1 68.2 19.0 34.6 31.9 34.0 55.9 29.1
Evicted for failure to pay rent or mortgage 100.0 100.0 93.0 45.7 47.0 42.6 44.7 64.8 42.9
Did not pay gas, oil, or electricity bill 42.1 3.5 100.0 20.5 32.4 27.7 31.5 54.3 25.9
Lost gas, oil, or electricity for failure to pay 57.2 8.4 100.0 100.0 45.8 28.9 34.2 58.3 32.9
Telephone disconnected for failure to pay 41.8 3.5 63.3 18.3 100.0 30.8 32.2 53.0 25.3
Needed to see doctor or go to hospital but did not 39.0 3.2 54.8 11.7 31.2 100.0 62.3 55.8 31.4
Needed to see dentist but did not 36.9 3.0 55.3 12.3 28.9 55.3 100.0 55.9 29.2
Food insecure 31.7 2.3 49.8 11.0 24.9 25.9 29.3 100.0 39.4
Food insecure with hunger 41.9 3.8 60.4 15.7 30.2 37.1 38.8 100.0 100.0
Notes:  Cell entries represent percent of households that have characteristic shown in column, among those that have characteristic shown in row.

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