Having to make mortgage and rent payments was linked to lower health outcomes in the early stages of the pandemic, according to new research out of the University of Michigan.
The study found that “during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, having to make rent or mortgage payments was significantly associated with health and mental distress,” the university said in a press release.
The researchers found that “compared to those without mortgage debt, homeowners with mortgage debt and renters reported worse self-rated health and higher levels of mental distress” in the earliest months of the SARS-Cov-2 crisis in the U.S.
“We know housing is a social determinant of health,” said lead study researcher Roshanak Mehdipanah. “We need to invest in both research and policy to develop affordable, adequate and accessible housing in cities in order to reduce health inequities.”
The researchers noted that, among the surveyed populations, renters “were more likely to have experienced job loss, “food insecurity,” and “inability to pay housing-associated costs” compared to homeowners.