The results of this study suggest that, on a per person basis, female-headed households spend less for food than do similar two-parent households. The presence of a male head influences food expenditures less than household income and education level of the female head. Low income and low education levels are two characteristics associated· with female-headed households. Female-headed households constitute a growing proportion of the total population, particularly of the population receiving food assistance. Identifying the causes for lower food expenditures among female-headed households should help programs aimed at increasing food expenditures among female-headed households. Analysis of expenditure patterns among 15 food categories reveals that the factors that influence a household's decision to purchase a particular food category differ from the factors that influence the decision of how much to spend for that food category. For this reason, the tobit model is rejected, and a two-step decision model is recommended.