We believe that no one institution can or should be the singular source of research on the full range of issues related to the material basic needs of individuals, children and families.

The National Diaper Bank Network and the Alliance for Period Supplies seek to serve as a resource for researchers and advocates across the country.  The following section features landmark studies that have advanced our collective understanding of the importance and impact of basic necessities. These core studies are followed by a link to our library of scholarly journal articles, reports and other publications that examine the association between poverty, the lack of material basic necessities, and social, health and economic outcomes.

Our goal is to encourage researchers to expand on studies that quantify the impact of diaper need and period poverty on individuals, families, and communities throughout the U.S.

In 2013, Pediatrics published the first peer-reviewed study to quantify diaper need, propose a method to measure diaper need, and explore psychosocial variables associated with diaper need in a large sample of urban, low-income families. Almost 30% of mothers reported diaper need. Hispanic women were significantly more likely to report diaper need than African American women and women 45 years of age or older were significantly more likely than women between the ages of 20 and 44 years to report diaper need. Women who reported mental health need were significantly more likely than women who did not report mental health need to report diaper need.
With nearly half the infants and toddlers in the US living in poor and low-wage families—who may struggle to access material basic necessities—federal, state and municipal support is essential to augment nonprofit efforts to combat diaper need. While diaper distribution programs successfully helped nearly 280,000 children during the time period (2016), collectively, the NDBN diaper distribution programs reached just 4% of the 7 million young children living in families at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The Diaper Bank of Connecticut report confirms that babies’ overall health improves when families living in poverty receive diapers and that, without diapers, parents miss work much more frequently. In addition, the report’s findings include: A majority of families receiving diapers (51%) have jobs; More than 60% of families receiving diapers earn less than $20,000 per year; Providing diapers to families helps eliminate $4.3 million in medical costs; and Providing diapers, today, increases state tax revenues.
The study examined the frequency of “period poverty,” or not being able to afford sanitary products, among university students, and associations with poor mental health. 14.2% of women had experienced period poverty in the past-year; an additional 10% experienced it every month. Among women who reported experiencing period poverty every month, 68.1% reported symptoms consistent with moderate or severe depression, compared to 43.4% of those who had not experienced period poverty.

Research and Studies

Comprehensive repository of local, regional and national research related to material basic needs, and their impact on the physical, mental, and economic well-being of individuals, families and communities.