Housing Affordability And Health: Is There A Connection?

health care rally sign: in america no one should go without health care
Rally for public health care. Households with high housing costs make it work financially by deferring doctor visits and drug purchases.

Does housing affordability affect health? This issue is not often explored in the media, but it’s a different story in the academic literature. Health researchers surveyed over 10,000 households in Philadelphia and surrounding counties to investigate this question.

Residents with high and very high housing costs were more likely to report general poor health, hypertension and arthritis, compared with those who reported they did not have high housing costs. On other chronic health conditions, including diabetes, there was no difference.

People with high housing costs were also more likely to report cost-related health and prescription non-adherence. In other words, they said weren’t going to the doctor or taking prescription medications for financial reasons.

Although this study is from 2008, it merits review for four reasons:

  • It involves a large sample (more than 10,000) making its results quite robust.
  • It is accessible on the web. Most publications in academic journals are not.
  • It is relevant today, as the prevalence of households that struggle with housing costs has continued to climb since 2008.
  • The findings are useful to the ‘medicare for all’ campaigns, which are growing in the U.S.

For more on this study, see American Journal of Public Medicine Online: Housing Affordability And Health Among Homeowners And Renters


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