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October 25, 2014

Foreclosures Hurt Your Health, Study Says

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Foreclosures Hurt Your Health, Study Says

The higher the foreclosure rates, the more risks to your community’s health, posits a new study. 

The increasing number of foreclosures in Arizona, California, Florida, and New Jersey were found to coincide with a rise of stress-related health problems in those states, finds new research by Janet Currie of Princeton University and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University. 

The researchers, who examined hospital-visit numbers and foreclosure rates for ZIP codes across the country, found that areas in the top fifth of foreclosure activity had more than double the number of hospital visits for preventable conditions--which generally don't require hospitalization--than the areas in the bottom fifth of foreclosure activity.

Researchers found that an increase of 100 foreclosures coincided with a 7.2 percent increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension, and an 8.1 percent rise for diabetes among people aged 20 to 49. The foreclosure increase was also associated with a 12 percent increase in hospital visits related to anxiety, also among the 20 to 49 age group. Plus, foreclosure increases also were found to have a nearly 40 percent jump in hospital visits for suicide attempts, although those numbers still remain low. 

"You see foreclosures having a general effect on the neighborhood," Currie told The Wall Street Journal. "Everybody's stressed out. There is a connection between people's economic well being and their physical well being."

Source: “Tying Health Problems to Rise in Home Foreclosures,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 31, 2011)

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