Effects of Assisted Housing on Children’s Healthy Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high proportion of income that poor families spend on housing can have deleterious consequences for a child’s healthy development. This article asks whether the increased affordability provided by government housing assistance translates into benefits for children. Do assisted housing parents spend more on child enrichment, leading in turn to their children’s healthier development relative to similar income-eligible families not receiving government housing assistance? We use longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the PSID’s Child Development Supplements, and the PSID-Assisted Housing Database and apply propensity weights and instrumental variables to address selection. Sample sizes are 205 children in the assisted housing group and 470 children in the unassisted group. We find convincing evidence that assisted housing parents invest more in their child’s enrichment than their unassisted counterparts do. These investments benefit their children’s cognitive achievement and overall health, with less consistent effects on socioemotional adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-330
Number of pages25
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
  • affordability
  • low-income housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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