On February 24, The Center for Housing Policy released a research brief analyzing changes in the housing cost burdens of low to moderate income working households from 2008 to 2009. According to the report, 10.5 million working households experienced severe cost burden (spending 50% or more of income on housing costs), an increase of nearly 600,000 households over the study period. The brief also finds that nearly 1 in 10 working households in every state had a severe housing cost burden. The most significant increases in the number of severely burdened working households occurred in California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
Housing cost burdens were more significant among working renters than among homeowners. In 2009, 24.5 % of working renters were costs burdened, compared to 21.2% of working owners. This is an increase of 22.1% and 20.1%, respectively, from the previous year. In addition, renters experienced a greater reduction in working hours and household income than did owners. Among both working renters and owners, extremely low income households (earning 0-30% of national area median income) were the most severely challenged by housing costs, with 80% of the subgroup reporting cost burden in 2009.
The Center for Housing Policy defines working households as those that report household members working at least 20 hours per week on average, with incomes no higher than 120% of the median income in their area. Data for the study are from the American Community Survey.
To read the report, Housing Landscape 2011: An Annual Look at the Housing Affordability Challenges of America’s Working Households, visit http://www.nhc.org/media/files/Landscape2011brieffinal.pdf