Part of the county by county health report released this week covered the role of housing costs in overall health of Garden State residents. NJSpotlight relays information contained in the annual rankings and reports that housing costs are inextricably linked to health.

Some of the metrics are birth weight, wellness, mortality, smoking, education, and violence. How does housing figure in to these factors? According to the report, nearly one in five New Jersey households spends more than half their income on housing, leaving little left over for things like medications, quality food, and other expenses that could improve their health. These factors play in what is known as “social determinants of health” which looks at other influences such as poverty violence, and housing.

A stable home is the first issue addressed since it influences so many other factors such as addiction and illness. The worst counties in New Jersey for housing are Passaic, Essex, Hudson, Union, and Atlantic. These housing problems are linked to things like a lack of quality education, health care, and good jobs, all of which affect health and wellness. Some towns and counties in the Garden State are trying to address these issues by doing things like increasing the availability to healthy foods, setting up medical clinics in schools, and bolstering vocational training opportunities to help residents get better jobs.

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