Could Raising the Minimum Wage Alleviate Food Insecurity in the U.S.?

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The blog highlights and summarizes a research study written by Mike Palazzolo, an associate professor of marketing at UC Davis, and Adithya Pattabhiramaiah, an associate professor of marketing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. You can access the full research study here.

High levels of food insecurity across the United States are largely attributed to the prevailing minimum wage. The majority of households that suffer from food insecurity report worrying that their food will run out before they obtain money to purchase more, as well as being unable to afford to eat balanced meals. As a result, politicians and public policy advocates link minimum wage with widespread food insecurity in the country.  

Key Facts

Key Facts 

  • Food insecurity affects about one in seven U.S. households with children.
  • In the study, researchers found the median minimum-wage increase (6.6%) led minimum-wage households to increase their calories purchased by 3.0%, with those households most in need also buying healthier calories. 
  • Researchers estimate that the typical minimum-wage increase during the study period of 50 cents an hour helped minimum-wage earners bridge a gap between them and those earning above-minimum wage.

In February 2022, the UC Davis Center for Poverty and Inequality Research published a study  titled “Raising the Minimum Wage Improves Nutrition Among Food-Insecure Households.” The study focuses on how raising the minimum wage could potentially help alleviate food insecurity and expand nutritional equity in the United States. Mike Palazzolo, an Associate Professor of Marketing at UC Davis, and Adithya Pattabhiramaiah, an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, directed the study. 

To conduct their study, researchers looked at minimum wage increases over a 10-year period, and observed the minimum wage increases of 309 localities. They also examined the within-household changes in  calories purchased, the nutritional content of those calories, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index and the Nutrient Profiling Model during that time. 





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