December 31st, 2020

NCHH Unveils New State of Healthy Housing Report

Media Contact: Christopher Bloom,; 443.539.4154

COLUMBIA, MD (December 31, 2020) – The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) has released the newest results of the State of Healthy Housing, a comprehensive study of housing conditions in 51 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) around the United States. The study reveals that 35 million—roughly 40%– of metropolitan homes in the U.S. have one or more health and safety hazards.

While Wall Street regularly boasts new highs, painting a picture of America’s opulence—and, by extension, its health, happiness, and well-being—NCHH’s ranking provides an alternative look at the conditions in which millions of its citizens actually live: The concept of a safe, healthy, and affordable home remains elusive for too many.

Despite advances in public health and continued funding for lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes work, the report shows that many Americans continue to live in housing that is plagued by serious health and safety risks.

NCHH researchers found that the physical conditions of U.S. housing have declined since the last survey in 2013, which found that about 30 million homes (or 35%) had health and safety hazards. The 2007-2010 foreclosure crisis and the blighted conditions that followed may be a contributing factor in the overall decline.
Poor housing quality has been implicated in a variety of health problems, including asthma, lead poisoning, and cancer. These environmental-related diseases are estimated to cost the U.S. $70 billion annually. The State of Healthy Housing underscores the need to improve housing conditions across the country.

NCHH’s rankings are intended to motivate thought and policy leaders within the public and private sectors to work together to ensure that a safe, healthy environment is a standard feature that comes with every house or apartment.

According to NCHH’s analysis, ranking at the top of the list for having the healthiest housing overall are the metropolitan areas of Raleigh, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; and Portland, Oregon. At the bottom of the list for having the least healthy homes are the metropolitan areas of Houston, Texas; New York, New York; and San Antonio, Texas.

NCHH measures healthy housing by analyzing 20 housing characteristics relating to health, including incomplete plumbing and kitchen facilities; deficient electrical, heating, or plumbing systems; ventilation and moisture problems; the presence of mice and other pests; and poorly maintained building elements. The most common problems identified include water leaks, roofing problems, damaged interior walls, and signs of mice, according to the American Housing Survey, the source of the data that NCHH uses in its ranking. The American Housing Survey is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the Census Bureau.

The State of Healthy Housing ranking compares owner-occupied dwellings with rental properties across MSAs around the country, examining conditions in central city housing and comparing them to housing located outside the central city. Across metro areas, rental properties tend to have more problems than owner-occupied dwellings, and central city housing has more problems than housing located outside the central city. Although there are exceptions to these trends, central city rental properties are typically older and, because of limited housing choices, are more likely to be inhabited by lower income residents .
NCHH will continue to draw attention to hazards that exist in many homes through the State of Healthy Housing, while acting through several initiatives to educate property owners and residents about ways they can create and maintain a healthy home environment.

The State of Healthy Housing and complete results of the report are available online.


The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is a leading national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives by transforming housing. Since 1992, NCHH has served as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity building under one roof to reduce health disparities nationwide. Follow NCHH on Twitter (@NCHH), Instagram (@nchhorg), or LinkedIn, become a fan on Facebook, or subscribe to NCHH’s YouTube channel.


December 31st, 2020 | Posted By | Posted in News, Press Release | Tagged ,