Panel Paper: The Impact of Housing On the Wellbeing of Children and Youth

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 1:20 PM
Mencken (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Donald Haurin, The Ohio State University and David Blau, Ohio State University

This paper presents initial research findings from a comprehensive empirical study of the causal impact of housing characteristics and conditions on the cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes of children and young adults The primary hypothesis is that the quality of a child’s dwelling has a positive effect on child outcomes in both the short run and the long run, holding other factors constant. Other key hypotheses to be tested are that the effects of housing differ by race, ethnicity, and income. In particular, we expect that there are diminishing returns to housing quality, so housing effects will be more important for low income and minority children, who on average suffer from greater deprivation than other children.

The primary data set used in the study is the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-1979 cohort (NLSY79) and the Child and Young Adult surveys of the children of the female NLSY79 respondents. An important innovation of the study is to use confidential data on respondent addresses to merge publicly available information about the dwellings occupied by respondents and their children with the survey data. The result is a rich longitudinal data set with extensive information for up to 30 years on parents and children, along with key measures of housing that are not available in the survey. This unique data allows for rigorous study of the relationship between housing conditions and child outcomes.