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U.S. housing statistics and research from Habitat for Humanity | Community Spirit

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U.S. housing statistics and research from Habitat for Humanity
U.S. housing statistics and research from Habitat for Humanity

U.S. housing statistics and research from Habitat for Humanity:


  • In 2008, the number of households spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing rose by one third, or 16 percent, to 18.6 million households. That’s 44.2 million Americans. If the homeless and those living in severely substandard conditions are included, roughly one in six Americans are in need of a decent, affordable place to live. (JCHS 2010).
  • One in three American homeowners spend more than 30 percent of income on housing (JCHS 2010).
  • There is not a single county in the U.S. where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford even a one-bedroom apartment at what HUD determines to be the Fair Market Rent. (NLIHC: 2006).

Research findings

Housing improves health

  • Studies show that 84% of U.S. homes have a bedroom with detectable levels of dust mite allergens. Many of these have levels that can contribute to allergies or asthma. (Arbes et al. 2003).
  • Exposure to dampness and mold in homes is estimated to contribute to approximately 21% of current asthma cases in the United States. Annual cost: $3.5 billion. (Mudarri and Fisk 2007).
  • Children in bad housing have increased risk of viral or bacterial infections and a greater chance of suffering mental health and behavioral problems. (Harker: 2006)

Housing has a positive impact on children

  • Owning a home leads to a higher quality home environment, improved test scores in children (9 percent in math and 7 percent in reading), and reduced behavioral problems (by 3 percent). (Haurin, Parcel, and Haurin: 2002)
  • Children who live in bad housing have lower educational attainment and a greater likelihood of being impoverished and unemployed as adults. (Harker: 2006)

Homeownership builds wealth

  • Owning a home, especially for lower-income households, is an important means of wealth accumulation. For low-income minority families, median average annual housing wealth appreciation is $1,712 whereas there is no non-housing wealth accumulation. This wealth is achieved both through equity and forced savings resulting from mortgage repayment. (Boehm and Schlottmann: 2004)
  • Homeownership increases intergenerational wealth accumulation through improved educational achievement in children, which leads to greater earnings when these children enter the workforce. (Boehm and Schlottmann: 2002)
  • Homeowners live in larger, higher quality units; they enjoy better housing services with costs that fall over time; and they stand to make considerable returns if they remain owners for a long time. (Rohe, Van Zandt, and McCarthy: 2001)

Housing strengthens communities

  • Owner-occupied housing has a beneficial effect on the local economy by increasing consumer spending, providing tax revenues and fees, and growing businesses and jobs. Building additional homes requires additional employees, goods, and services from the general economy (JCHS 2006)
  • Homeowners are more likely to be satisfied with their homes and neighborhoods, and are more likely to volunteer in civic and political activities. (Rohe, Van Zandt, and McCarthy: 2000)
  • Homeowners are more likely to know their U.S. representative (by 10 percent) and school board head by name (by 9 percent), and are more likely to vote in local elections (by 15 percent) and work to solve local problems (by 6 percent). (DiPasquale and Glaeser: 1998)

Learn more

Support your local Habitat for Humanity of East & Central Pasco County, www.habitatpasco.org, (352)567-1444, or sblack@habitatpasco.org.

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