NLIHC released a report on February 25, 2010 that provides a thorough analysis of the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) 2005-2007 data and shows the housing problems that the lowest income households faced directly before the latest recession began. CHAS data are published by HUD and are a special tabulation of American Community Survey (ACS) data that allow users to gain a clear picture of the need for housing at different geographic levels. In this new report, NLIHC provides analysis at the national as well as the state level and compares the 2005-2007 CHAS findings to findings from the 2000 CHAS data.
NLIHC found that over three-fourths of extremely low income (ELI) renter households, those earning 30% or less of the area median income (AMI), had at least one housing problem (paying over 30% of their income on housing costs, living in substandard housing, or living in an overcrowded unit) in 2005-2007. This was also true for very low income (VLI) renters, households earning between 30% and 50% of AMI. The shares of ELI and VLI renters with at least one housing problem were higher nationally and in nearly every state in 2005-2007 than they were in 2000.
The housing problem affecting the greatest number of households was unaffordable cost burden. Seventy-six percent of the 9.2 million ELI renter households spent over 30% of their income on rent and utilities in 2005-2007 and 64% of the 5.9 million VLI renter households did the same. However, ELI renter households are much more likely to have severe housing cost burden, or to spend more than half of their income on housing costs, than VLI renters. There are approximately 8.2 million renters with severe housing cost burdens and ELI renters make up 71% of these households while only making up 25% of the total renter population.
From the CHAS data, NLIHC was also able to calculate the number of units that are affordable to renters in each income group and the number of units that are both affordable and available to these renters. In every state the number of affordable units per 100 renter households decreased from 2000 to 2005-2007. This is due to the 13% increase in the number of ELI renter households over that time, while the number of units affordable to this population decreased by 14%. There were only 63 affordable units per 100 ELI renter household in 2005-2007, compared to 84 in 2000. When taking into consideration the fact that many people earning higher incomes live in units affordable to ELI households, the number of units both affordable and available per 100 ELI renters drops to 35.
This report contains data at the state level, but CHAS data is also available at the county and city level. For the full report, Dark before the Storm: A Picture of Low Income Renters’ Housing Needs before the Great Recession from the 2005-2007 American Community Survey, go to http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Dark_Before_the_Storm.pdf
For help on creating similar table to the ones in this report at the county of city level contact Megan DeCrappeo, Research Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org.