Why Low-Income Households Become Unstably Housed: Evidence From the Panel Study of Income Dynamics
Because of a severe shortage of affordable housing in the United States, an increasing number of low-income households suffer from housing instability. However, little evidence exists as to why they experienced housing instability, although they were stably housed at other times. By applying hybrid models to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data, this study estimates the effects of potential household-level predictors on the likelihood of experiencing housing instability. The results show that changes in family employment structure, job insecurity, automobile ownership, and the number of adult family members within a household correlate with housing instability after controlling for changes in household income and housing costs. Moreover, I find that households with children are particularly vulnerable to housing instability. These results contribute to identifying valid household-level predictors of housing instability and developing preventive policy interventions that help unsubsidized low-income households achieve housing stability.