Examining the links between housing and nine key socio cultural factors

Examining the links between housing and nine key socio cultural factors Report

  • Author(s): Mullins, P, Western, J
  • Published: 2001
  • Publisher: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

Abstract: 1. This paper reports findings from an empirical analysis on the relationships between housing and nine ‘non housing outcomes’: community; crime; poverty; social exclusion; perceived well-being (subjective quality of life); anomie; health; education; and labour force participation. 2. The analysis is predicated upon a belief voiced by housing policy makers that improvement in people’s housing circumstances may, for example, increase perceived well-being, decrease experiences and fears of crime, and improve health. While this is a plausible supposition, there is little direct empirical evidence to demonstrate these outcomes. 3. The relationships between housing and non housing outcomes are examined using survey data drawn from a sample (N=1347) of South East Queensland households. Since these data relate to one point in time, it is not possible to examine changed outcomes for those who have received housing improvements. Instead, we undertake a cross-sectional analysis and focus on differences in these outcomes between tenure groups. Of interest is whether those who receive housing assistance have non housing outcomes that are similar to, or different from, other tenure groups, and, in particular, whether those living in public housing and those low income private tenants in receipt of government benefits have better non housing outcomes (e.g. a higher perceived quality of life) than low income private tenants who are not in receipt of government benefits.4. If housing assistance has a significant impact upon recipients’ lives, we could assume that there would, in some instances, be no statistically significant differences in outcomes between those in receipt of government assistance and other tenure groups, but especially when compared with low income private tenants who receive no government assistance. 5. We found that public housing tenants and low income private housing tenants in receipt of government assistance had the poorest non housing outcomes, with the exception of community. Public housing tenants were found to reside in the strongest communities, with ‘community’ being defined here according to the number of key ties concentrated within the local area. However, this presence of a strong community may be the product of disadvantage since this has the effect of concentrating life within the local area. 6. When we compare public housing tenants and low income private tenants in receipt of government assistance with low income private tenants not in receipt of this assistance, the former two were found to have poorer non housing outcomes. This constant is a product of differences between the tenure groups. Low income households receiving no government assistance lacked the level of disadvantage that was present among those who received assistance; a disadvantage that clearly determined the assistance received. 7. In this way, then, when we identify different tenure groups we are pinpointing individuals and households with different characteristics. Thus, differences are a product of the characteristics of the people residing in these various forms of tenure, not the buildings themselves.

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Mullins, P, Western, J, 2001, Examining the links between housing and nine key socio cultural factors, Report, viewed 08 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4405.

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