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close this book Daughters of Sysiphus
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close this folder Expenditure
View the document Expenditure on shelter
View the document Expenditure on food
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close this folder Annexes
View the document Annex I - Glossary of terms
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View the document Annex III - Lena

Expenditure on food

For all households food proved to be the largest and most important item of expenditure.

The percentage of female-headed households spending more that $100 on food was smaller than in the case of joint-headed-households, probably reflecting a generally lower income level in female-headed households. It should be noted that Miller and Stone found that female-headed households in their sample did not obey Engels' Law which states that "expenditure shares for food decline with rising levels of income/expenditure." In the case of female-headed households Miller and Stone found that expenditure shares on food continued to rise as income levels rose. Food expenditure patterns are summarized in table 7.

Table 7. Percentage of different types of household by weekly expenditure on food

Type of household

Amount spent weekly on food

 

$ 1 -$25

$26-$50

$51-$100

$100+

Female-headed

2.7

9.4

28.5

59.4

Male-headed

5.8

8.7

34.0

51.5

Joint-headed

2.7

5.0

25.3

67.0

Overall

3.2

7.4

28.1

61.3

 

Another important aspect of expenditure patterns on food relates to the frequency of expenditure. Lack of cash and lack of refrigeration are two factors that affect whether a household buys food on a daily or weekly basis for instance. The poorer a person is the more likely it is that he or she will small purchases on a daily basis. In the stories below this is illustrated by Auntie and Icie in particular.

Hunger

Just under a quarter of female-headed households (23. 4 per cent) reported that their children had gone to bed hungry in the last month as opposed to 12.0 per cent for male-headed and 12.5 per cent for joint headed households respectively.

Despite the fact that the majority of the survey sample should have proved eligible for food stamps less that 20 per cent of households had actually benefited from these. Male-headed households were the least likely to have benefited with only 9.6 per cent receiving stamps; 19.5 per cent of female-headed households received the benefit as opposed to 21.2 per cent of joint-headed households. Respondents who were not receiving food stamps were asked why not. Table 8 summarizes their responses.

Table 8. Percentage Or different types Or household by reason given for not receiving food stamps

Reasons for not getting stamps

Type of household

 

Female-headed

Male-headed

Joint-headed

Overall

Lack of knowledge/content

26

16

18

21

Lack of interest

33

so

38

38

Believes not necessary or not qualified

27

20

30

28

Too political/unfair

5

2

2

3

Tried but failed/stopped

9

3

19

9

Total

100

100

100

99

The relatively high percentage of women who reported a lack of knowledge or lack of contact with relevant authorities indicates that female heads of household have information needs that are not currently being met.

Of those who had, at any time, received food stamps, 25 per cent of female-headed households were no longer doing so compared with 29 per cent of male-headed households and 29 per cent of joint-headed households.