Reports

The Intersection of Housing and Mental Health in Colorado

Mapping Critical Social Determinants of Health

Project Abstract

Using Colorado statewide data at the census tract level, this study employed various geospatial analytical techniques to investigate geographic relationships and identify priority area census tracts where the following two critical issues coincided: housing unaffordability and high prevalence of mental health issues. In addition, these priority area census tracts were examined in relationship to access to mental health treatment within 30 minutes of driving . Other social determinants of health were also examined to provide more insight into the characteristics of these locations.

Six percent of all census tracts in Colorado have a significantly higher prevalence of both rent burdened households and mental health issues than the state average. These 71 priority area census tracts are most concentrated in five metropolitan regions: Pueblo, Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Grand Junction.

A publicly-available, interactive, web-based map was developed to highlight the locations in Colorado where critical housing affordability and mental health issues intersect: http://arcg.is/D1e4C

In identifying and providing a deeper understanding of these census tracts, this study offers policymakers guidance on where to target programs that support affordable housing and mental health. This cross-system information can help policymakers to more effectively coordinate the allocation of resources addressing these two persistent issues.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing

Research Partners: 

University of Northern Colorado