Unstable Housing and Caregiver and Child Health in Renter Families

Published: 2018 | Megan Sandel, Richard Sheward, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba | Pediatrics


Objectives: To evaluate how 3 forms of housing instability relate to caregiver and child health among low-income renter households.

Methods: Caregivers of children 0 to 48 months of age were interviewed in 5 urban medical centers from May 2009 to December 2015. Caregivers reported on the following: caregiver health, maternal depressive symptoms, child’s health, lifetime hospitalizations, developmental risk, and 3 housing circumstances, which were categorized as being behind on rent in the past 12 months, multiple moves (≥ 2 in past 12 months), and child’s lifetime history of homelessness. Associations with caregiver and child health outcomes were examined through multivariable logistic regression.

Conclusions: Three forms of housing instability were associated with adverse caregiver and child health among low-income renter households. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends social screening within health care; providers could consider assessing for behind on rent, multiple moves, and homelessness in high-risk practices.