That’s the message from a new study out of Johns Hopkins University. According to Dr. Sandra J. Newman of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy, “Families spending about 30 percent of their income on housing had children with the best cognitive outcomes… It’s worse when you pay too little and worse when you pay too much.”

Newman added, “The markedly poorer performance of children in families with extremely low housing cost burdens undercuts the housing policy assumption that a lower housing cost burden is always best. Rather than finding a bargain in a good neighborhood, they’re living in low-quality housing with spillover effects on their children’s development.”

In short, families that spend too much on housing lack the funds to invest in quality educational and enrichment activities for their kids. But families that spend too little are doing so by choosing neighborhoods where there might be issues with crime or other factors that detract from student performance.

When it comes to a child’s future development, affordable housing in a good neighborhood is a linchpin of future success.

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