Access to Food Stamps Improves Children’s Health and Reduces Medical Spending

Photo of grocery produce section

In a new policy brief, Chloe N. East (Ph.D., economics, ’16), an assistant professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver, examines how parental eligibility for the Food Stamp Program affects children's well-being and healthcare expenses, with a particular focus on U.S.-born children of immigrants.

Among her key findings: 

  • Immigrants’ loss of eligibility reduced participation in the Food Stamp Program among U.S.-born children of immigrants by 50 percent, and reduced the average benefits they received by 36 percent.
  • Loss of parental food-stamp eligibility before age 5 has clear negative effects on developmental health outcomes and on parental reports of the child’s health in the medium-run.
  • An additional year of food-stamp access in early life reduces medical expenditures in the medium-run by roughly $140 per child.

Read the full brief on the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research site.