Foreclosure’s Effects on Family Health and Well-being

A growing literature has documented the detrimental effects of housing instability (often generated by evictions and foreclosures) on health. Using the RealtyTrac foreclosure dataset, which includes information on every foreclosure action in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015, the research team will match foreclosures with Medicaid address data and follow units through the foreclosure process (from initial notification that a mortgage holder is behind on their payments through repossession by the lender).

While the initial notification of late payments may be linked to health outcomes primarily through stress, property repossession can also result in forced residential displacement, which may be a mechanism connecting foreclosure to health outcomes. Furthermore, the severity of displacement effects due to foreclosure may be mediated or moderated by the length of the foreclosure process. The more time a household has between initial notice of foreclosure and displacement, the more likely that household may be to secure stable, high-quality, and affordable housing, making the foreclosure experience less disruptive.