Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

Housing improvement and health gain: a summary and systematic review

Resource/Evaluation type


Subject area



United Kingdom

Poor housing is strongly linked to poor health, but this does not prove that better housing leads to improved health. To document this question, a team at MRC Glasgow examined studies published across the world over the previous 100 years. They found that housing improvements can clearly improve residents' health, in particular mental health. However they can also result in rent increases, which can make people’s health worse. And because of costs and other reasons, the original residents may move to another area and not benefit from the housing improvements.

Further research by the same team showed that the degree of mental health improvement may be linked to the extent of the housing improvements. However, the potential for generating health improvement cannot be considered separately from other changes such as increased housing costs, relocation and more general neighbourhood changes. Some of these may have additional health impacts, either negative or positive.

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Authors and E-mails

Hilary Thomson, Mark Petticrew and Jillian Morrison
E-mail: Hilary[at]

Owner contact details

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
University of Glasgow
United Kingdom