Rental Housing Assistance and Health: Evidence From the Survey of Income and Program Participation

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8 Scopus citations


Interest in the health impacts of renter housing assistance has grown in the wake of heated national discussions on health care and social welfare spending. Assistance may improve renters’ health by offering (a) low, fixed housing costs; (b) protection against eviction; and (c) access to better homes and neighborhoods. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and econometric analysis, I estimate the effect of receiving assistance from the public housing or Section 8 voucher programs on low-income renters’ reported health status and spending. Assisted renters spent less on health care over the year than unassisted low-income renters did, after controlling for other characteristics. This finding suggests that assisted housing leads to health benefits that may reduce low-income renters’ need to purchase health services. Voucher holders’ lower expenditures are influenced by their low, fixed housing costs, but public housing residents’ lower expenditures are not explained by existing theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalHousing Policy Debate
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 10 2018


  • health care
  • low-income housing
  • public housing
  • Rental housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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