Housing-Sensitive Health Conditions Can Predict Poor-Quality Housing

Ougni Chakraborty, Kacie L. Dragan, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Sherry A. Glied, Renata E. Howland, Daniel B. Neill, Scarlett Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving housing quality may improve residents’ health, but identifying buildings in poor repair is challenging. We developed a method to improve health-related building inspection targeting. Linking New York City Medicaid claims data to Landlord Watchlist data, we used machine learning to identify housing-sensitive health conditions correlated with a building’s presence on the Watchlist. We identified twenty-three specific housing-sensitive health conditions in five broad categories consistent with the existing literature on housing and health. We used these results to generate a housing health index from building-level claims data that can be used to rank buildings by the likelihood that their poor quality is affecting residents’ health. We found that buildings in the highest decile of the housing health index (controlling for building size, community district, and subsidization status) scored worse across a variety of housing quality indicators, validating our approach. We discuss how the housing health index could be used by local governments to target building inspections with a focus on improving health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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