Exploring the Link Between Housing and Children’s Health and Education Outcomes

January 11, 2019 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: Affordable Housing, Housing Matters

How Housing Matters, an online resource created by Urban Institute and the MacArthur Foundation, has conducted numerous research projects studying the impact of housing circumstances on children’s health and education outcomes.

According to their research, housing plays a central role in determining health and education outcomes for children.

More specifically, children's health and education both suffer when families are subjected to poor housing quality and/or housing instability. However, when children have access to safe and stable housing, it can significantly improve their health and how they perform in school.

Below are a few notable takeaways of their research.



The Bad News

  • Poor housing quality is linked with higher levels of depression, anxiety and aggression in children and young adults.
  • Housing instability, such as being behind of rent, moving frequently, and a history of homelessness, are linked with negative health outcomes for both caregivers and children.
  • Renter households with children are more likely to have at least one child with asthma than homeowners.

The Good News

  • Receiving assistance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development greatly reduces a low-income family’s likelihood of lead exposure.



The Bad News

  • Moving schools frequently is linked with lower reading achievement.
  • Housing costs more than twice as much (about $11,000 more a year) near a high performing public school than near a low-performing school.
  • Children under 19 living in crowded households are less likely to graduate from high school.

The Good News

  • Decreasing lead exposure is linked with higher test scores in third graders.
  • Community revitalization projects in public housing can improve elementary school children's test scores in math and reading.
  • Participation in after school programs in low-income neighborhoods can reduce suspension and expulsion rates and improve student attendance and math, science and reading proficiency.

Click here for a full list of How Housing Matters' findings exploring the link between housing and children’s health and educational outcomes.

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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