One of six global trends in health equity

Ensuring Safe, Affordable, and Climate-Resilient Housing for All

Inflation, climate change, migration, and urbanization are exacerbating the global housing crisis, with significant implications for health outcomes.

Global Trend

What is changing?

  • One in four people globally lives in conditions harmful to their health and safety.

  • Not enough affordable, quality houses are being built to meet population needs. By 2030, three billion people will need access to adequate housing, requiring the building of 96,000 new homes per day until then.

  • In most countries, the cost of housing has grown faster than incomes. This crunch hits hardest in cities, where migration, urbanization, and population growth coalesce.

  • Housing that is not responsive to changing climate will directly contribute to injuries and deaths during extreme weather events. Unsafe housing could expose two billion people to extreme heat by 2100.

How are specific groups impacted?

  • Migrant communities often have fewer support networks for emergency housing and are frequently the first to be displaced in climate and conflict emergencies.

  • Populations with low incomes are more at risk of losing housing or living in locations that are not safe for their health. About 716 million of the world’s people with the lowest incomes reside in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

How is this trend reflected in the U.S.?

US Context, Housing Desktop


Discriminatory housing practices have contributed to Black and Hispanic households having lower rates of homeownership. In 2022, White households had a homeownership rate of 75%, while Hispanic households were at 48%, and Black households were at 45%.

Quick Facts

  • Housing affordability in the U.S. was the worst it has ever been in 2022.
  • Homelessness has been increasing in the U.S., with over 540,000 individuals currently homeless. Black people make up over 40% of the U.S. homeless population.
  • 78% of homes built in the U.S. in the last two years are at risk of increased storms from climate change. Minority groups are more likely to live in areas with heightened heat exposure (e.g., urban heat islands) or in areas at risk of flooding.
  • Housing for migrants is increasingly a U.S. problem. A surge in migrant arrivals led to more than a 140% increase in shelter entries in New York City in 2023.
  • More than 75% of land zoned for housing in the U.S. is for private, single-family homes only. Single-family homes are more expensive than multi-family and apartment options, making them increasingly out of reach for families with low incomes.
  • Public housing has often been underfunded and unsuccessfully implemented.

Solutions From Around the World

  • Map
  • Alphabetical Listing

Crosscutting Themes

Multisolving for Climate Change

Equitably Leveraging AI

Multisolving for Climage Change icon.


New programs are working to ensure homes are protected from climate events, such as floods and wildfires. 

The Australian Bushfire Resilience Rating Home Self-Assessment app allows individuals to measure the resilience of their home and receive a customized action plan, reducing the likelihood of their home igniting in a bushfire by an average of 67%. Beyond wildfire resilience, what other tools might allow individuals to increase their home’s resilience to climate events?

Often homes that account for changing climate through improved air conditioning, heat retention, or energy efficient systems are catered toward high-income individuals. How might communities with low incomes, migrants, and unstably housed populations be included in the transition to climate-smart housing?

Equitably Leveraging AI icon.


Landlords have used AI to screen their tenants.These algorithms may amplify existing biases, particularly against renters of color. How might we prevent AI tools from leading to increased housing discrimination? 

Affordable housing applications are often lengthy and complicated, adding significant barriers for those trying to navigate the housing system. AI-based technology can be used to automate the housing application process, simplifying it for tenants and allowing applications to be processed morequickly. How might AI be best used to streamline housing applications, particularly for populations that are low income, migrant, or unstably housed?


Connections to Longevity


Multigenerational housing concepts or housing designed for social cohesion can facilitate healthy aging through increased socialization and opportunities for community care. For example, cities can provide funding for families to live close together or assist older adults in opening their homes to young people, encouraging multigenerational living.

Related Content


Six Global Trends in Health Equity

Explore the full analysis of six health equity trends emerging across the globe to learn how communities and decisionmakers are responding to them and their implications for the U.S.