Jason Houle

"Health Problems Can Lead to Loss of Home" (Reuters)

People who develop a debilitating or chronic illness could be at least twice as likely to default on their homes or risk foreclosure, a recent U.S. study suggests.

Most research on links between financial troubles and illness has focused on poverty or declining income as a cause of poor health, rather than the other way around, the study team notes.

Read the full story, published on January 7, 2015 in ReutersHere is the publication in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.


"Young Americans More Saddled with Debt" (The Wall Street Journal)

According to new research by Assistant Professor Jason Houle, more than a third of today’s young Americans (age 24 to 28) have more debt than assets, reports The Wall Street Journal. “That’s roughly double the proportion of their peers in the late 1980s and mid-1970s,” notes the newspaper.

Houle examined how the type of debt carried by young Americans has changed since the 1970s. Houle, as assistant professor of sociology, found that today’s young Americans have less home-related debt, but more education debt than previous generations. “As the transition to adulthood has protracted, and the costs of education have risen, young adults have shifted their credit use away from home mortgage debt and towards student loan and consumer debt,” says Houle.

Read the full story, published 9/9/14 by The Wall Street Journal.

"Student Debt and Black Homeowners" (The Wall Street Journal)

A study by Dartmouth’s Jason Houle and a colleague from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that student debt appears to have a bigger impact on homeownership among black borrowers than among white borrowers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Houle, an assistant professor of sociology, and his colleague found that among those with some secondary education, “having $10,000 more in student debt is associated with a 6 percentage point lower probability of homeownership and a 7 percentage point reduced probability of having a mortgage,” writes the Journal.

“One troubling conclusion in the report: To the extent student loan debt is deterring homeownership, the authors find that it is more of a deterrent for blacks than for whites,” the Journal reports.

Read the full story, published 6/20/14 by The Wall Street Journal.

"Mental Health, Suicide and the Foreclosure Crisis"

Health Policy workshop on "Mental Health Suicide, and the Foreclosure Crisis"
Assistant Professor Jason Houle

April 3, 2014
1930s Room, Rockefeller Center

In 2007, following decades of increasingly risky borrowing practices, defaults in the sub-prime mortgage market resulted in the worst economic collapse in the U.S. since the Great Depression. The massive scope of the foreclosure crisis, as well as its disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities, raises questions about its potential impact on the mental health and well-being of the U.S. population. In this talk I will present research from ongoing work that examines how rising foreclosure rates are associated with population mental health and suicide rates. I will especially focus on variation in the impact of rising foreclosure rates on mental health and suicide by race, socioeconomic status, and age.


Assistant Professor of Sociology Jason Houle says he was surprised by the results of his research on college loan debt among students from low-, middle-, and high-income families, CNBC reports.

His forthcoming study found that lower-middle-income students carry more debt load than students from either of the other economic groups, according to CNBC.

“Subjects whose families earned $40,000 to $59,000 annually racked up approximately $9,200 more student loan debt than their peers whose families earned between $100,000 and $149,000 per year, and approximately $13,0000 more debt than young adults whose families made more than $150,000 annually,” Houle tells CNBC. “Students from families with incomes of $60,000 to $99,000 also carried more debt than those from higher-income families.

“It didn’t surprise me that kids from affluent backgrounds and whites tended to have less,” he adds. “But I would have thought I’d see a straight-up negative association between debt and income, and that wasn’t the case.”

Read the full story, published 12/11/13 by CNBC.