Our Homes Are Key To Our Health
2019 Annual Message
This year we are taking a different approach to our Annual Message by focusing on one key factor of health: housing.
Millions of families in America are struggling to keep a roof over their heads—and it’s taking a toll on their health. In a Culture of Health, everyone has an opportunity to reside in an affordable, safe, stable home and a neighborhood that fosters well-being. That’s why, in this Annual Message, RWJF is highlighting housing as one key factor of thriving communities. The data and stories below are just a few examples of how housing is linked to health and equity.
households are “cost-burdened,” spending more than 30% of their income on housing
Four Ways Housing Links to Health
The increase of extremely poor neighborhoods from 2010-14
Of cost-burdened households pay more than half of their income for housing
Estimated number of people who have asthma in the United States and can attribute their condition to dampness and mold exposure in their homes
Approximate number of people evicted every day
Connecting Housing and Health Equity
Not everyone has the same opportunities to be healthy where they live—and that needs to change.
Estimated number of people who experience discrimination in the rental housing market annually
Housing and Health Equity: What’s the Connection?
Illustrations by Alexandra Beguez
Addressing Affordable Housing
Housing costs in America remain unacceptably high, and this is bad for our nation’s health. In many communities, housing costs have outpaced local incomes. As more people experience the burden of severe housing costs, there are more children in poverty, more people who don’t know where their next meal will come from, and more people in poor health.
Rent v. Household Income: 2001–2015
Percentage changes in rent and income compared to their respective 2001 values
Fostering Generational Wealth
Owning a home is an important vehicle for families to build wealth for their children and grandchildren. But not everyone has a fair chance to pursue this valued American dream.
Median Wealth (Net Worth) of U.S. Households by Racial and Ethnic Group, 2016
Driving Community-Led Investment
Every community must look at the challenges in their neighborhoods and address the most pressing needs. It’s essential to invite both longtime residents and newcomers to the table to shape and invest in neighborhood improvement.
At RWJF, we recognize housing as a key foundation of a Culture of Health. No organization, individual, or community can tackle this important issue alone. Everyone has a role in creating communities where each of us, our families, and our neighbors can flourish. The way forward requires working together to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play—for everyone.