Food insecurity: Discrepancy within Australian couple households

Jane M. Fry, Jeromey B. Temple

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Food security remains a global public health priority but there may be bias in the prevalence of household food insecurity, depending upon who answers the questions. Using a cross‐section from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, we analysed components of food insecurity reported separately by both partners in 718 households, allowing examination of discrepancies among couples. We modelled discrepancy in reports of food insecurity on 8 items using binary logit models for each question and a binomial regression for the number of questions on which there was discrepancy. Among couples who differed on an item, (conditional) discrepancy rates ranged from 71.75% to 85.86%. Females were more likely than males to report food insecurity on most items. Key characteristics associated with discrepancy were female's and male's age, female's education, being born in Australia, renting and male's employment. Male's age and birthplace were associated with discrepancy on more items while male's higher education and being a homeowner were associated with discrepancy on fewer items. Among couples who differed in responses, females were more likely to report food insecurity if they were older or had a disability, if their male partner was younger or had no disability, or if either person had more education than high school. The prevalence of food insecurity among couple households may be underestimated by 7.4 percentage points due to discrepancies in reporting. Discrepancies can reduce the accuracy of measures of food insecurity, impeding the targeting of responses, and lead to a less efficient allocation of resources to combat food insecurity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues (AJSI)
Early online date12 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2024


  • Australia
  • food insecurity
  • couples
  • discrepancy


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