Homeowner versus non-homeowner differences in household food insecurity in Canada
Authors: Lynn McIntyre, Xiuyun Wu, Valerie C. Fleisch, and J. C. Herbert Emery
The risk of food insecurity, lack of access to adequate food because of financial constraints, is low for homeowners relative to renters in Canada; yet it is unclear if this is due to the characteristics of who owns versus who rents, or a direct protective effect of homeownership over renting. We examined this question by looking at the correlates of food insecurity among households by homeownership status. We used a population-based sample, the 2009-2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, in which both housing tenure and food insecurity were measured. A decomposition approach allowed us to examine the difference in prevalence of food insecurity between non-homeowner and homeowner households that was not accounted for by household-level characteristics such as income or contextual factors. As expected, household food insecurity was much lower among homeowner households (3.3 %) than non-homeowner households (17.9 %). Household and contextual characteristics accounted for 71 % of the overall difference in the odds of being food insecure, leaving 29 % of the gap attributable to the protective impact of homeownership. Closing this gap could include the introduction of institutional policies that mirror the protection from home equity and governmental policy supports afforded to homeownership.
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