Skip to main content

Housing affordability and child health


Associate Name: Craig Pallock

Funding Source/Period of the Grant: NICHD-PDB R03 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2021

Project Description

Project Summary Although safe and affordable housing is a critical foundation for child health, such housing is in short supply. To address the lack of affordable housing, policymakers developed the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Since 1986, LIHTC—a federal tax credit given to affordable housing developers—has funded the development of 3 million housing units that meet certain quality standards. To our knowledge, there has been no systematic evaluation of children’s health with respect to the LIHTC program. Such an evaluation is critical as policymakers increasingly seek to prioritize the distribution of tax credits to maximize their societal benefits. We propose to integrate property-level data on housing constructed or rehabilitated using LIHTC funding with child-level data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS; 2004-2016) and neighborhood-level characteristics from the American Community Survey (ACS). We will employ the resulting dataset to provide national estimates on the link between LIHTC and child health. In the first research aim, we will complete the data integration and assess the sociodemographic and neighborhood characteristics of children surveyed in the NHIS who reside in LIHTC housing compared to those who do not and examine changes in these characteristics over time. This will provide a foundation for aim 2 that seeks to explore, using propensity score weighting, whether children in LIHTC housing have differences in their health status and use of health care compared to similar children who do not live in LIHTC housing. In the third aim, we will further examine children matched to LIHTC housing, investigating characteristics of this housing and the surrounding neighborhoods that may be linked with health status and health care utilization. Bolstered by a policy advisory council, this project will provide critical evidence on the link between the nation’s largest funder of affordable housing and children’s health and well-being.