State of Healthy Housing

About 35 million metropolitan homes in the U.S. have one or more health and safety hazards. These conditions can cause significant illness, injury, and deaths; yet we can prevent many of them through housing regulation, inexpensive repairs, ongoing maintenance, and small behavior changes.

The purpose of the State of Healthy Housing report is to alert policymakers and advocates in the locations included in the report about the housing conditions in their communities. The ultimate goal is to increase awareness of housing-related health hazards and to provide the basis for additional investment in affordable, healthy housing.

NCHH created the rating system using American Housing Survey (AHS) data collected after 1997. The report covers 45 metropolitan statistical areas and includes two indicators. The first indicator, called “Healthy Housing,” compares 20 housing conditions that are linked with health problems to national averages for those conditions. It’s the first national indicator of healthy housing and includes variables such as the presence of rats and mice, the presence of interior and exterior leaks, and electrical and heating problems. The second indicator is “Basic Housing Quality” and is based on the AHS measure of housing with severe and moderate physical problems. It primarily includes structural problems, such as inadequate plumbing or kitchen facilities, crumbling foundations, and damaged roofs.


Executive Summary
Key Definitions of the Characteristics Used in the Report
Frequently Asked Questions
Evidence Table [pdf]