Cover: The Impact of Abortion Bans on Short-Term Housing Needs

The Impact of Abortion Bans on Short-Term Housing Needs

Published in: Public Health, Volume 228, pages 200-205 (March 2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2024.01.013

Posted on rand.org Feb 29, 2024

by Neil K. R. Sehgal, Yulin Hswen, Jonathan H. Cantor, Ushma D. Upadhyay, Ben Reis, Christopher Remmel, John Samuel Brownstein, Benjamin Rader

Objectives

State-level abortion bans in the United States have created a complex legal landscape that forces many prospective patients to travel long distances to access abortion care. The financial strain and logistical difficulties associated with travelling out of state for abortion care may present an insurmountable barrier to some individuals, especially to those with limited resources. Tracking the impact of these abortion bans on travel and housing is crucial for understanding abortion access and economic changes following the Dobbs U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Study Design

This study used occupancy data from an average of 2,349,635 (standard deviation = 111,578) U.S. Airbnb listings each month from October 1st, 2020, through April 30th, 2023, to measure the impact of abortion bans on travel for abortion care and the resulting economic effects on regional economies.

Methods

The study used a synthetic difference-in-differences design to compare monthly-level occupancy rate data from 1-bedroom entire-place Airbnb rentals within a 30-min driving distance of abortion clinics in states with and without abortion bans.

Results

The study found a 1.4 percentage point decrease in occupancy rates of Airbnbs around abortion clinics in states where abortion bans were in effect, demonstrating reductions in Airbnb use in states with bans. In the 6-month period post Dobbs, this decrease translates to 16,548 fewer renters and a $1.87 million loss in revenue for 1-bedroom entire-place Airbnbs within a 30-min catchment area of abortion facilities in states with abortion restrictions.

Conclusion

This novel use of Airbnb data provides a unique perspective on measuring demand for abortion and healthcare services and demonstrates the value of this data stream as a tool for understanding economic impacts of health policies.

Research conducted by

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