The Effects of Family Type, Education and Race on Food Expenditures in North Carolina

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Lyubov Kurkalova, Economics Department, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Department of Economics

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


Food deserts are an overwhelming problem in many parts of the United States. The weekly food expenditures of households can exhibit a families’ level of food security. While household income is the usually the best indicator for overall food expenditure, focusing on other factors such as education and racial groups can show their broader implications. Using quarterly data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015-2019), I selected a sample of consumption patterns in North Carolina during the period. Using regression analysis, I estimated the total food, food away from home, at home and fresh vegetable food expenditures of households based upon their familial type, highest attained education and racial group. Preliminary results suggest that less educated and more marginalized groups spend significantly less on all food expenditures when compared to those with Bachelor’s degrees and of the white race. Future research must be done to separate the effects of income that are picked up in the race and education variables. This research is relevant because access to nutritious food does not just affect the issue of hunger it also further impacts education, mental health, and other related socio-economic issues.

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