Low-Income Americans Face a Harrowing Choice: Food or Housing [psmag.com]

 

Between 1960 and 2016, inflation-adjusted median rents in America increased by 61 percent and median home values increased by 112 percent, according to a recent report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Median incomes, meanwhile, increased by only 5 percent for renters, and 50 percent for homeowners. In a new report, Urban Institute researchers Corianne Scally and Dulce Gonzalez look at how Americans are managing these trends.

This striking divergence in the growth of housing costs and incomes has led to a predictable outcome, even as the economy has slowly recovered from the Great Recession: more and more Americans are struggling to make rent. The percentage of renters who are considered to be "cost-burdened" (meaning they devote over 30 percent of their income to housing) increased from 23.8 percent in the 1960s to 47.5 percent in 2016, according to JCHS. A recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition concluded that there's not a single county, metro area, or state in the country where a full-time minimum-wage worker could afford a two-bedroom home.

"Housing is the biggest monthly expense for most households," Scally says. "It happens regularly, and it's due every month whether you rent or own—and more households are facing challenges with this as housing costs have gone up over the years, and incomes have really stagnated."

[For more on this story by DWYER GUNN, go to https://psmag.com/economics/th...-still-too-damn-high]

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