Precarious housing and wellbeing: a multi-dimensional investigation

This Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report looks at the relationship between housing precariousness and wellbeing across populations and over time.

This research examines how the bi-directional relationship between housing precariousness and wellbeing varies across population subgroups and over time; sheds light on the dimensions of housing precariousness that affect wellbeing, and vice versa; and considers how policy interventions to effectively minimise negative impacts of precarious housing on wellbeing.

Wellbeing is a critical and internationally recognised yardstick of societal progress and policy impact, putting individuals at the centre of evaluation. Precarious housing includes household-based conditions such as forced moves and living in unaffordable housing or overcrowded housing, and area-based precarious housing conditions, such as living in an area of relative socio-economic disadvantage or in a higher crime area.

Key Points

  • The wellbeing of singles, households with no children, low-income households, private renters and major city residents worsens when they are precariously housed.
  • The gap in wellbeing between precariously housed and non-precariously housed people has widened over time.
  • Forced moves and unaffordable housing have the most detrimental impact on wellbeing. The former results in a 1.6 per cent decline in the wellbeing index; the latter results in a 0.8 per cent decline in the wellbeing index.
  • Forced moves and unaffordability also depress the mental health score by 1.7 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.


Rachel Ong ViforJ, Ranjodh Singh, Emma Baker, Rebecca Bentley and Jack Hewton.


Read the report here.