HUD released the FY15 income limits and median family income (MFI) estimates on March 6.
The estimated FY15 MFI for the U.S. is $65,800.
HUD uses these data to determine income eligibility for households applying for federally assisted housing programs. HUD calculates the FY15 MFIs using 2008-2012 five-year American Community Survey (ACS) data. However, in areas with a valid 2012 one-year ACS survey median family income result, HUD incorporates that more recent data. The geography of the income limits coincides with the areas used to set Fair Market Rents.
HUD changed the methodology for bringing MFI estimates forward from the final year of the ACS data to the midpoint of the current fiscal year. In FY13 and FY14, HUD used a trend factor that reflected the annualized change in national median family income over the previous five years. HUD decided this was no longer a reasonable means of anticipating upcoming income growth. Consequently, FY15 MFI estimates incorporate a consumer price index forecast from the Congressional Budget Office to adjust for income growth over the next year.
Income limits are based on MFIs adjusted for family size. Very low income limits for four-person families are calculated as 50% of the area median family income, with some adjustments for unusually high or low income-to-housing cost relationships. The very low income limits are used to form the basis of income limits for households of other sizes.
The FY14 Consolidated Appropriations Act redefined extremely low income families as those whose incomes do not exceed the greater of 30% of the area median family income or the federal poverty guidelines as published by the Department of Health and Human Services. Puerto Rico and other territories are excluded from this adjustment. There are separate poverty guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii. If the poverty guideline is above the very low income limit for a given family size, the extremely low income limit is set at the very low income limit.
Annual changes to income limits are still capped at 5% in either direction, or limited to at most twice the national change. This 5% rule does not apply to the extremely low income limits if they are set according to the poverty guidelines.
The FY15 Income Limits documentation and more information is at http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il15/index.html