Effects of Minimum Wage on Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Essay

Most economies has set the lowest financial reward an employees should be entitle to given the existing living standard. Minimum wage therefore implies to the lowest compensation or salary a worker is entitled to for offering his expertise or labor. In most countries minimum wage is set to enable workers afford the basic human needs. The main aim is therefore is to shield workers off exploitation of employers. The practice of setting minimum wage is mostly established by government-employer contracts or simply through government legislation. Very many people in the world today suffer because of lack of enough food to consume. Malnutrition, that is, lack of necessary ingredients for growth and development of people has thus been of great importance in many journals. Even with individuals with enough not feel hungry can still suffer malnutrition. In this case, the malnutrition is not just on lack of food but improper balanced diet. Food security, variety coupled with their affordability defines an environmental nutrition standard of a country. Dietary behaviors influence the whole community in a country though individual practices at household level. These dietary patterns are influenced by various factors among them the income of a household.

The purchasing power of a household is determined by its income, holding any other factor constant (Mabli et al., 2010). The introduction of minimum wage requirement exposes various households to a threat of limited amount of goods and services. An income for a household is divided into various categories of expenses (Green-Lapierre et al.’ 2012). These expenses include among others recurrent bill payment, Personal hygiene items, allocation for transportation and most importantly food purchases. This part of argument is mostly concerned with influence of the idea of minimum wage on food purchase part of the expense (Barre, Mizier-Barre & Macintyre, 2011). A considerable high income obviously allows households to exercise a greater freedom in partitioning between the expenses and thus allowing for wide scope of choices, such as with food selection (Kirkpatrick & Tarasuk, 2010). Prices of different commodities are very vital in any decision regarding consumption. The ability to buy of a person is a function of the price under consideration. This means that household with low income or who due to the urgency of the other categories of expenses cannot afford high-nutrition foods are forced to resort to cheaper, less healthy foods (Mabli et al. 2010). Nutritious food consumption is a very vital factor influencing health of a society. Among the aims of MDGs is reduction of poverty and hunger. This goal makes important to discuss how legislation on minimum wage impact on hunger and environmental nutrition.

According to Barre, Mizier-Barre & Macintyre (2011) through their journal titled Socioeconomic Factors and Their Relation to Eating Habit in Two Communities in Nova Scotia, Canada give enough evidence to support is argument. This journal compares two communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. The researchers sent questionnaires regarding conditions and food consumption patterns to the communities. The questionnaires were then answered by an adult representative of a household (Barre, Mizier-Barre & Macintyre, 2011). The study recorded an eighty two percent and seventy percent response rate from Glace and King’s county respectively (Barre, Mizier-Barre & Macintyre, 2011). The study also recorded an equal representation of both sexes in the houses sampled. The average age of individuals included in the sample from thirty three to forty four years for the two areas under consideration. For an ethical consideration, the journal’s study was approved by the Human Ethics Committee at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. Amounts of food consumed, sources of food purchased and their current food security were compared among the two areas based on the analyzed earnings (Barre, Mizier-Barre & Macintyre, 2011). The study assessed the quality in the household by type the source of the food and number of portions consumed.

Another journal reviewed is learning from “Knocks in Life”: Food Insecurity among Low-Income Lone senior women by Green-Lapierre et al. (2012). The Journal set in Nova Scotia, Canada aimed to assess lone senior women’s experiences accessing food with their limited financial resources. The study analyzed different point of views concerned with adequacy of income, the most important overheads and the way they allocated personal finances. The study concluded that these senior women are facing a great threat of food security resulting from inadequacy of funds (Green-Lapierre et al., 2012). To support this finding, the study employed a very detailed data collection and sampling strategy. The study employed purposive and snowball methods in sampling. The researchers then collected data and at the same time performed data analysis until theoretical saturation was reached (Green-Lapierre, 2012). For a detailed data, the researchers organized a semi structured face-to-face interview with the participants. In data analysis, a phenomenological approach was used to assess the women’s perception of the life with low income (Green-Lapierre et al., 2012). The phenomenological approach was used in combination with a conceptual framework founded on the Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model. Phenomenology is always used in research to uncover the meaning behind a phenomenon (Green-Lapierre et al., 2012). The approach goes beyond simple description of an experience and seek to arrive at structural description of the experience and expose the underlying and participating factors that account for what is being experienced.

The third journal reviewed in this paper is a study by Kirkpatrick and Tarasuk entitled The Relationship between low income and household food expenditure in Canada. The objective of the study was to compare food expenditure behaviors between low-income households and higher-income households in Canadian population (Kirkpatrick & Tarasuk, 2010). The journal analyzed secondary data from the 1996 family food expenditure survey carried out by the statistics Canada. The study found that total food expenditure among the low-income individuals were lower as compared to higher-income citizens (KirkPatrick & Tarasuk, 2010). The journal also analyzed closely proportions of income allocated on food consumption by the two groups. The study found out that even though low-income individuals allocated much of their income on milk products, they purchased slightly fewer amounts of these foods (Kirkpatrick & Tarasuk, 2010). The low-income household also purchased fewer amount of vegetables and fruits as compared to the higher-income households. The type of data used in this study was purely secondary from Canadian Labour Force Survey sampling frame through stratified multistage sampling (KirkPartrick & Tarasuk, 2010). In its data analysis, the researches performed all statistical analyses using SAS/PC, version 8.01. Finally the study defined low income based on the 1996 Low income Measure.

Last but not least the paper reviewed is journal entitled Food Expenditure and Diet Quality among Low-Income Households and Individuals, a final report by Mabli et al. (2010). The study measured the link between food expenditure and diet quality. The study was carried out to mainly analyze how diet quality and food expenditure are related among the low income households (Mabli et al., 2010). The study through a regression analysis shows a negative relation between low-income expenditure and quality of die. From the study low income individuals spend 13.85 percent of the foods that are not recommended for daily consumption (Mabli et al. 2010). The spend approximately 38.51 percent on foods not recommended for frequent consumption, and almost half of the food they purchase cannot be categorized through the information available in the data as to whether or not they are recommended for frequent consumption (Mabli et al. 2010). The study also reveals that higher expenditure on food are associated with an increase of 0.29 to 14.14 percent points on food recommended for daily consumption, and decrease of – 0.18 percent points on food not recommend for frequent consumption (Mabli et al., 2010).

Legislation on minimum wage exposes individuals on category of income described as low-income (Kirkpatrick & Tarasuk, 2010). From the analysis of the four journal it is clear that lack of enough money to allocate for food expenditure affects the amount and variety of foods available for the affected individuals. It is therefore correct to conclude as seen from the analysis that minimum wage affects hunger and environmental nutrition.


Barre, D., Mizier-Barre, E., & Macintyre, P. (2011). Socioeconomic Factors and Their Relation to Eating Habits in Two Communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 6(2), 497-505.

Green-Lapierre, R., Williams, P., Glanville, N., Norris, D., Hunter, H., & Watt, C. (2012). Learning from “Knocks in Life”: Food Insecurity among Low-Income Lone Senior Women. Journal of Aging Research, 2 (4), 1-11.

Kirkpatrick, S., & Tarasuk, V. (2010). The Relationship between Low Income and Household Food Expenditure Patterns in Canada. Journal of Public Health Nutrition, 6 (6), 589-597.

Mabli, J., Castner, L., Ohls, J., Fox, M., Condon, E., & Crepinsek, M. (2010). Food Expenditure and Diet Quality among Low-Income Households and Individuals. Journal of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc, 4(6), 1-179.