As California struggles with providing affordable housing, a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that people who experience housing insecurity have much higher rates of psychological distress.

The study on disparities in housing insecurity and mental health, which uses data from the 2022 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) also demonstrated that people of color were more likely to report their housing as unstable. While 18%, or 5.2 million, of California adults said their housing situation felt unstable, the rates were significantly higher for marginalized racial and ethnic populations:

  • 29% of American Indians or Alaska Natives, which is 61% higher than the average
  • 26% of Black or African Americans, which is 44% higher than the average
  • 24% of Latinx, which is 33% higher than the average

People who reported they frequently worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage experienced psychological distress at nearly twice the proportion of those who did not, 39% versus 21%, which has implications for mental health policies and programs in the state, the authors said.