University of Wisconsin–Madison
Discussion Paper Icon

Food Assistance During and After the Great Recession in Metropolitan Detroit

Economic shocks produced by the Great Recession have contributed to rising food insecurity, with 14.7 percent of U.S. households being food insecure in 2009, compared to 11.1 percent in 2007. At the same time, SNAP caseloads increased by nearly 60 percent since 2007 and the program now reaches more than 40 million persons. Using data from the first two waves of the Michigan Recession and Recovery Survey (MRRS), a unique panel survey of a representative sample of working-age adults in the Detroit Metropolitan Area, this project explores three research questions related to the receipt of SNAP among low-income households: How have low-income families in the Detroit Metropolitan Area bundled SNAP with other types of public assistance and help from charitable nonprofits in the wake of the Great Recession? When controlling for economic shocks and respondent characteristics, to what extent is access to local food assistance resources related to receipt of SNAP and charitable nonprofit food assistance? How are receipt of SNAP assistance and economic shocks related to household food shopping behaviors and food security? Several important findings emerge from this project that should be of interest to scholars, policymakers, and advocates. Among them is the finding that food insecurity is quite prevalent among poor and near-poor households in metro Detroit following the Great Recession. Fifty-one percent of households below the federal poverty line were food insecure in the year prior to the Wave 1 survey.


Food & Nutrition, Food Assistance