Study Shows Housing Choices Can Affect Children’s Cognitive Abilities

Habitat for Humanity recently shared news from a study by Johns Hopkins University showing that when families spend most of their money on housing, their children’s cognitive performance suffers because they don’t have money for educational items such as computers and books. On the other hand, the study also found that families who allocate less than 20 percent of their income toward housing often live in distressed areas, which has a negative effect on children. “People are making trade-offs, and those trade-offs have implications for their children,” one of the study’s researchers said.

Children with the best cognitive outcomes come from families who spent about 30 percent of their income on housing, according to Johns Hopkins professor Sandra Newman, who is also director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities. The study found that children were better served when families sought low-income housing in stable neighborhoods, as opposed to paying a small price for low-quality housing.

Habitat for Humanity works internationally to provide people with a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. Carla Cole, a team lead for the Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., Batavia, New York, office, is a board member of Habitat for Humanity Genesee County.

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