This research was partially supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through the Population Research Center at the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago. The authors thank Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference participants for their helpful suggestions.
The Allocation of Food Expenditure in Married- and Single-Parent Families
Article first published online: 30 AUG 2006
Journal of Consumer Affairs
Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 347–371, Winter 2006
How to Cite
ZIOL-GUEST, K. M., DeLEIRE, T. and KALIL, A. (2006), The Allocation of Food Expenditure in Married- and Single-Parent Families. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 40: 347–371. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6606.2006.00061.x
DeLeire is on leave from the Department of Economics at Michigan State University.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as those of the Congressional Budget Office.
- Issue published online: 30 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 30 AUG 2006
Differences in food expenditures in married- and single-parent families are examined using the Consumer Expenditure Survey Diary Component (1990–2003). Single parents, compared to married parents, allocate a greater share of their food budget to alcohol and food purchased away from home; conversely, they spend a smaller share of their food budget on vegetables and fruits. Compared to married parents, single fathers spend a greater share on alcohol and food purchased away from home and a lesser share on vegetables, fruits, meat and beans, desserts and snacks, and prepared foods. Single mothers, compared to married parents, spend a greater share on grains and nonalcoholic beverages and a lesser share on vegetables and alcohol. Single mothers and fathers differ from each other in almost all categories of food and beverage expenditure. We also find important differences based on the employment status of parents in the household: families where all parents are employed, irrespective of family structure, spend a greater share of their food budgets on food purchased away from home and a lesser share on vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat and beans compared with married-couple families in which the mother is not employed. We discuss ways in which family structure and parental employment status may be associated with food purchasing decisions.