Housing Quality by Disability, Race, Ethnicity, and Rural-Urban Location: Findings From the American Community Survey


Housing quality is associated with health and well-being; however, little research examines these factors by location. This policy brief examines the rates of two key housing quality indicators (having incomplete plumbing and incomplete kitchen facilities) by rural-urban location, as well as at the intersections of racial/ethnic identity and disability status.

Key Findings:

  • A higher proportion of rural residents have incomplete kitchen or incomplete plumbing facilities compared to urban residents, resulting in over 368,000 rural and 1.5 million urban residents living in substandard housing.
  • In both rural and urban areas, a higher proportion of adults with a disability have incomplete plumbing and incomplete kitchen facilities compared to adults without a disability.
  • Higher proportions of rural residents, both those with and without a disability, have incomplete plumbing than urban residents either with or without a disability. Rural people with a disability have the highest proportion with substandard plumbing.
  • Overall, rural American Indian or Alaska Native communities have the highest proportion with incomplete kitchen facilities (3.53%) and incomplete plumbing (5.13%), much higher than their urban counterparts or other racial and ethnic groups.
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Alexis Swendener, Madeleine Pick, Megan Lahr, Hawking Yam, Carrie Henning-Smith