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Food Insecurity Among Older Adults in the U.S.: The Role of Mortgage Borrowing

AEPP releases new research

The significance of home equity in the wealth portfolio of older adults is expected to increase over the next few decades, especially as the baby boomer generation enters retirement with higher levels of financial debt than previous generations.

In the new article “Food insecurity among older adults in the U.S.: The role of mortgage borrowing” released in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Cäzilia Loibl, Alec Rhodes, Stephanie Moulton, Donald Haurin, and Chrisse Edmunds from The Ohio State University, investigate if housing wealth is associated with lower food insecurity among homeowners age 65 and older.

Cäzilia says, “We find a substantial short-term effect of borrowing from housing wealth, with each additional $10,000 borrowed lowering food insecurity by 2.2 percentage points within two years of borrowing. When examining the role of race with an interaction term, additional liquidity through mortgage borrowing has a similar impact on food insecurity for Black and White older homeowners. In a simulation of the impact of relaxing the debt-to-income borrowing constraint, food insecurity is reduced by 2.1 percentage points for previous non-borrowers and by 1.6 percentage points for borrowers.”

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ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

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