Effects of Child Health on Housing in the Urban U.S.

Marah A. Curtis, Boston University
Hope Corman, Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Kelly Noonan, Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

This study exploits an exogenous health shock, the birth of a child with a severe health condition that the medical community considers to be random, to investigate the effect of that shock on the family’s housing situation. We use U.S population-based data from an urban birth cohort study that oversampled nonmarital births, resulting in a relatively disadvantaged sample that may be particularly susceptible to the effects of adverse life events. We focus on outcomes related to housing instability. We found that severe child health conditions increase the likelihood the family later experiences homelessness, particularly in cities with high fair market rents, supporting the argument that reducing income volatility to allow families to buffer the potential effects of adverse life events may be an important way to prevent homelessness. The findings also inform the vast literature on the effects of housing on health by highlighting the potential importance of reverse pathways.

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Presented in Poster Session 2