Community Developments: Segregation and Health, Household Debt, Home Size
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- A new study financed by the National Institutes of Health finds connections between racially segregated neighborhoods and high blood pressure for African Americans. The study found a rise in blood pressure for those living in racially segregated neighborhoods, and that blood pressure decreased for those who moved to less segregated neighborhoods. Stress, quality of schools, housing values and easier access to health-promoting resources such as grocery stores and gyms may contribute to the difference in blood pressure. According to the researchers, social policies that minimize segregation, such as fair housing practices, may have meaningful health benefits. (USA Today, May 17)
- A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that total household debt increased by 1.2 percent quarter-over-quarter to $12.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2017, surpassing the $12.68 trillion peak reached during the Great Recession in 2008. According to the report, the composition of this household debt is very different from that in 2008. Mortgages make up a smaller share of the total, while auto and student loans are a larger portion. (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, May 17)
- An analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that the median and average square footage of new single family homes continue to decrease, indicating that builders are adding more entry-level homes to the housing inventory. According to NAHB, home sizes reached a plateau in 2015 and 2016 after experiencing a steady rise post-recession, yet home sizes have dropped since then. The median single-family square floor area decreased by 2 percent to 2,389 square feet between 2016 and 2017. (DSNews, May 17)
- According to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post, the Trump Administration plans to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives in its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal set to be released next week. Part of the reductions would be channeled into efforts to expand charter schools, voucher programs for private and religious schools, and choice-friendly policies in public school systems. (The Washington Post, May 17)
- A new survey by Zillow shows that despite consistently rising rents across the country, most American renters, including low-income households, feel secure in their homes. Eighty-three percent of renters surveyed as part of the Zillow Housing Aspirations Report said that they are very confident or somewhat confident in their ability to stay in their current homes as long as they want. According to the survey, lower-income renters in Dallas, Los Angeles and San Jose feel least secure in their long-term ability to stay in their homes. (Zillow, May 17)
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