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Is Housing Shortage the Root of All American Problems?



A makeshift tent housing a homeless person sits beneath a billboard advertising $600,000 homes in Rohnert Park, California, Feb. 26, 2022. (Shutterstock)
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America’s housing shortage is causing more than an affordability crisis.

Researchers say it also could be driving many of the big U.S. problems such as wealth inequality, low birth rates, and climate change.

“Imagine you’re a city-dweller living paycheck-to-paycheck. You’re trying to save so you can afford a down payment on a home someday, but there’s not much left to stash away after paying rent,” writes for

“A few years later, you buy a home that’s probably a little more expensive than you can afford. You used to walk to work, but given you now live an hour away from your job in the city, you begin spending much more time in a car. You make plans to start a family over the next year, but given the cost of the home, the extra years it took to finally obtain it, and its modest size, you decide to aim for a fewer number of children than you had previously envisioned.”

Ill Effects of Housing Shortage in California

The domino effect of the housing shortage is most glaringly on display in California, where more than 1 in 4 residents are either poor or nearly poor, according to the California Poverty Measure.

As things stand, Gov. Gavin Newsom is fighting an even bigger housing and homelessness crisis than the one he inherited from Jerry Brown.

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Read more on the links between the housing shortage and other American challenges at

To learn the roadblocks Newsom faces in trying to end California’s housing crisis, go to


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