Rapidly rising home values often accompany gentrification, leading to increased property taxes for homeowners (Ding & Hwang, 2020). Higher property taxes increase the risk of becoming cost-burdened, “in Mecklenburg County, 75% of homeowners earning under $20,000 are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing-related expenses” (UNCC Urban Institute, 2021). These families may not be able to spend as much money on healthcare, potentially harming their health (Drabo et al., 2021; Shamsuddin & Campbell, 2021). This project will explore income levels and rising housing costs and how they impact access to healthcare. Research has shown there is a correlation between income levels and access to healthcare (Hoffman & Paradise, 2008). I hypothesize that respondents reporting a lower income bracket will be more likely to express a need for access to healthcare in their neighborhood. This study is based on surveys given to Charlotte residents that include Likert scale questions, and open-ended responses. They include questions about respondents’ homeownership skills, gentrification, home price appreciation, and services they need in their community. Respondents are asked to participate in focus group discussions that are analyzed for commonly discussed topics and themes. Data collection is still ongoing and preliminary data will be analyzed to identify trends. The impact that rapidly rising property values and taxes has on individuals’ ability to meet essential needs should be further examined. This work is important for policy development because an inability to afford basic living essentials can harm a person’s health and quality of life.
Presented at the 2022 Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Research Symposium. The results of the study are preliminary and this project is ongoing.