Housing and its association with other life outcomes


This study draws two main conclusions: firstly, that changes in housing circumstances have little impact on the well-being of Australians, in general, as the analysis shows that most changes in housing circumstances represent movement from a relatively good situation to a better one; and second, that further analyses of the relationship between shelter and non-shelter outcomes should consider not only changes in circumstances, but also the timing of such changes.

Project Number: 10001
Research Theme(s): Social wellbeing
Project Leader: McDonald, Peter
Funding Year: 2000
Research Centre: ANU

Published research reports

Download now Final Report: No. 026: Housing and its association with other life outcomes
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There is increasing recognition by social policy makers that assistance provided under specific government programs may have unintended, often positive, outcomes for recipients. This is especially true in the area of housing assistance, as access to secure and adequate housing has been shown to have an impact on, for example, health and crime. Although parallel changes in economic and social wellbeing on the one hand, and housing on the other may not necessarily be causally related, the use of panel data to assess such changes provides a more reliable indicator of the link between each outcome than would be possible using cross-sectional data.

This project examined the extent to which changes in housing over a three-year period are associated with changes in non-shelter outcomes by analysing the Negotiating the Life Course panel survey. It assessed changes in education, employment, social security receipt and income, self-assessed health status, participation in community work, self concept, family formation and dissolution, and work-family values for people whose housing situation also changed. Assessment of the differences of such changes was made for recipients and non-recipients of housing assistance. The project also provided recommendations on appropriate methodologies to better analyse the link between housing and non-shelter outcomes. Recognition of the need to examine the outcomes of the provision of government assistance using a longitudinal perspective, ensures that results of this project will be useful to social policy makers.