Housing and child development

Tama Leventhal, Sandra Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


This article presents a critical review of recent research on the role of housing in children's development, including physical health; social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes; and schooling, achievement, and economic attainment. We focus on six features of housing that are central to housing policy and have generally received the most research attention: (1) physical housing quality; (2) crowding; (3) residential mobility; (4) homeownership; (5) subsidized housing; and (6) unaffordability. The strongest evidence is provided for the deleterious associations between environmental toxins/hazards and crowding with children's health, and for residential mobility with children's short-term academic, social and emotional problems. The findings on assisted housing are mixed, and homeownership and affordability are not linked to children's outcomes. More methodologically rigorous and conceptually focused research is needed. Despite fundamental knowledge gaps, the results have implications for housing policies focused on homeownership, subsidies and land use regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1174
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Child development
  • Family well-being
  • Housing
  • Low-income
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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