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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Young Children Receiving Housing Vouchers Had Lower Hospital Spending Into Adulthood

Young children whose household received a housing voucher were admitted to the hospital fewer times and incurred lower hospital costs in the subsequent two decades than children whose households did not receive housing vouchers, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study was published online December 3 in JAMA.

The findings, which tracked hospitalizations over time after households participated in a voucher program, are potentially relevant for the approximately four million children living in low-income households receiving Housing and Urban Development assistance, the researchers say.

The study found that children age 12 or under whose household received a housing voucher had 27 percent lower spending on hospitalizations — nearly $200 per year — than children whose household did not receive a housing voucher. Children 12 or younger whose family received a housing voucher were hospitalized 18 percent less than children whose family did not during the follow-up period. Moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood was linked with lower health care spending and fewer hospital admissions for younger children. The study did not find comparable savings or fewer hospitalizations in older children or in adults whose households received housing vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods.

Dr. Craig Evan Pollack, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management, is the lead author.

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