We use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to estimate the effects of maternal depression, a condition that is fairly common and can be severe, on food insecurity, a hardship that has increased substantially in the U.S. Using various model specifications, we find convincing evidence that severe maternal depression increases the likelihood that young children experience food insecurity by 23-79%, with estimates depending on model specification and measures of depression and food insecurity. For household food insecurity, the corresponding estimates are 11-69%. We also find that maternal depression increases reliance on several types of public programs, suggesting that the programs play a buffering role.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
- Family well-being
- Food insecurity
- Maternal depression