Housing and Health: A 30-Year Retrospective Analysis

Project Funder: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 

Project Partners: University of Illinois at Chicago School of Urban Planning and the Center for Neighborhood Technology

Project Contact: David E. Jacobs, djacobs@nchh.org, 410.992.0712

Project Description: The overall goal of this study is to identify housing trends from approximately 1970-2000 that are related to changes in population health, especially children and other at-risk subpopulations, by synthesizing data from the American Housing Survey (AHS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This is the first time in the United States that national representative data sets have been combined over a substantial time period. Some of the relationships identified through this investigation include the following:

  • Trends in housing age (quality) and amenities follow lead poisoning over time.
  • Changes in heating and air conditioning systems and prevalence of broken windows and bars on windows follow the prevalence of asthma.
  • Housing air conditioning follows obesity.
  • Cardiovascular health follows changes in proximity to open space, commercial and industrial facilities, noise, and neighborhood air quality.
  • Trends in general health status by race/ethnicity have remained much the same and follow trends in housing over time.