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Foreclosures Are Making People Sick

Seven years after the housing bust began, millions of Americans are still suffering. And suffering is the operative word—because both foreclosures and economic inequality impact people’s health.
January 9, 2015, 10am PST | Lisa Monetti
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By Antwan Jones and Gregory D. Squires

While foreclosure activity has declined since the peak of the mortgage crisis, millions of families are still at risk of losing their homes. Over 10 million families were still delinquent in their mortgage payments, underwater on their mortgages or otherwise vulnerable to losing their homes in 2013, according to a report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. And RealtyTrac recently reported that foreclosure filings increased slightly in the third quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, economic inequality is on the rise. Researchers with the Century Foundation and Rutgers University found that areas of concentrated poverty—census tracts in which the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater—have increased by over 40 percent since 2000. And the Federal Reserve reported in September that the income of the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans grew by 2 percent between 2010 and 2013, while the income of the bottom 60 percent actually declined.

These statistics clearly show that seven years after the housing bust began, millions of Americans are still suffering. And suffering is the operative word—because both foreclosures and economic inequality impact people’s health.

In 2011, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that people living in areas with high levels of foreclosures are far more likely to experience...

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Published on Thursday, January 8, 2015 in Rooflines
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