The Center for Housing Policy released Housing Landscape 2014: The Housing Affordability Challenges of America’s Working Households on February 19. The report examines housing affordability for households whose members work at least 20 hours per week, and combined household income does not exceed 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Authors Lisa Sturtevant and Janet Viveiros found that in 2012, 79.4% of extremely low-income (ELI) working renter households faced a severe housing cost burden, compared to 25.4% of all working renter households. Severely cost burdened households spend at least 50% of their income towards housing costs.
The proportion of working renter households facing a severe housing cost burden peaked in 2011 (26.4%), before falling slightly in 2012 (25.4%). According to the authors, the decline can be attributed to increases in median household income. Between 2009 and 2012, median incomes of working renter households rose by 5.1%. Despite these gains, there were still 5.9 million severely burdened working renter households in 2012, an increase of nearly 350,000 households since 2009.
The data exclude the number of underemployed and unemployed households, and these households are likely to face a severe housing cost burden. The exclusion of these households from the analyses may mean the report minimizes the extent to which the lowest income households are affected by severe housing cost burdens.
The report can be found on National Housing Conference’s website: http://www.nhc.org/media/files/Landscape2014.pdf