Research Alert: May 20, 2024

Rural/Urban Differences in Housing Quality and Adequacy: Findings From the American Housing Survey, 2019

There is ample evidence that poor housing quality and inadequate conditions (overcrowding, high-cost burden, plumbing, and kitchen facilities) can lead to negative health outcomes. However, less is known about differences in rates of specific housing quality characteristics such as pests, building conditions, and related characteristics by rurality. In this policy brief, researchers identify rural/urban differences in various measures of housing quality using a nationally representative survey.

Key Findings:

  • Rural housing units had higher rates of several specific housing quality issues, including heating problems, utility interruptions, missing roofing or external building materials, and broken windows.
  • Urban housing units had higher rates of flush toilet breakdowns, electric wiring problems, and indoor water leakage, compared to rural units.
  • The prevalence of signs of mice or rats inside homes in rural areas was approximately double that observed in urban clusters and urbanized areas.
Contact Information:

Carrie Henning-Smith, PhD, MPH, MSW
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 612.626.4512

Additional Resources of Interest: