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This new working paper reveals a clear increase in housing unaffordability in the Netherlands and a strong link with poorer mental health. The results show these dynamics to be starkly differentiated by tenure and age, disproportionately affecting renters and younger adults.

This paper examines changing trends in housing affordability in the Netherlands and its link to mental health across tenures and age cohorts. Using the LISS panel dataset over 11 years (2008 to 2019), we assess trends in the prevalence of unaffordable housing and subsequently examine its relationship with psychological wellbeing based on ‘Mental Health Inventory 5’ responses.

Our research shows a clear overall increase in the experience of unaffordable housing. Increases are, however, starkly differentiated by tenure and age, occurring almost entirely within the rental sector and disproportionately affecting younger adults. We also find a clear link between housing unaffordability and poorer mental health scores, and this association is particularly strong among renters and younger people. The results underscore how changes in housing systems have intensified housing precarity, specifically within the rental sector, and reveal how this may contribute to worsening mental health at the population level.