A new brief from the Children's HealthWatch (CHW) research study clearly demonstrates what many in the affordable housing, public health, asset building, and anti-poverty spheres have long known: that stable housing is foundational for children's health and family well-being. (CHW is a multi-city study of the impact of economic and social policies on young children and their families. Additional studies, reports, and information about the data are available on their site here.)
In the brief, data drawn from a sample 6,000 families with children under age four living in Massachusetts show that children whose families had moved two or more times in the past year were 59% more likely to have been hospitalized than were children in housing-secure families. Furthermore, families who were behind on their rent were more likely to struggle to feed all members of the households adequately, to have had utilities shut off, and to forgo needed health care for a child. Children from these families were 52% more likely to be at risk for developmental delays.