Housing and Health

Where we live is at the very core of our daily lives. Housing is generally an American family's greatest single expenditure, and, for homeowners, their most significant source of wealth. Given its importance, it is not surprising that factors related to housing have the potential to help–or harm–our health in major ways. This issue brief examines the many ways in which housing can influence health and discusses promising strategies to improve America's health by ensuring that all Americans have healthy homes.

The focus is on three important and interrelated aspects of residential housing and their links to health: the physical conditions within homes; conditions in the neighborhoods surrounding homes; and housing affordability, which not only shapes home and neighborhood conditions but also affects the overall ability of families to make healthy choices.

This is one in a series of 12 issue briefs on the social determinants of health. The series began as a product of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America and continues as a part of the Foundation's Vulnerable Populations Portfolio.

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