Renters burdened by unaffordable housing costs may be at a higher risk of dying sooner, according to a new study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
The study, a collaboration between researchers at Princeton University and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Economics Studies, involved creating a dataset that allowed them to follow individual renters from 2000 on. They analyzed millions of records to understand the link between rent burden, eviction and mortality for people.
According to the study, an individual paying 50% of their income toward rent in 2000 was 9% more likely to die over the next 20 years compared with someone paying 30% of their income toward rent. Meanwhile, someone paying 70% of their income toward rent was 12% more likely to die.
Nick Graetz, the study’s lead author, told CNBC: “We were surprised by the magnitude of the relationship between costs and mortality risk. It’s an especially big problem when we consider how many people are affected by rising rents. This isn’t a rare occurrence.”
Rising rents have far outpaced wages, leaving the typical renter in the U.S. paying 30% or more of their income for housing.
In addition to the consequences of unaffordable rent, the researchers found that even being threatened with eviction was associated with a 19% increase in mortality. Receiving an eviction judgment was associated with a 40% increase in the risk of death.
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