WASHINGTON, D.C. - Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show improvement in household income and poverty over the past year. Median household income in the U.S. is more than 5% higher, while 3.5 million fewer Americans live in poverty in 2015 than in 2014. The National Low Income Housing Coalition welcomes this news, but recognizes that not all Americans are benefitting from the improving economy.
“The poverty rate remains unchanged for persons with disabilities and stubbornly high for minorities, young children, and people without a high school diploma,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). “More than 43 million Americans remain in poverty, and many struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing.”
NLIHC’s annual Out of Reach report shows that a full-time worker, working 40 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, must earn $20.30 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. In high cost areas of the country, it’s even more. And in no state can a full-time worker earning the minimum wage afford even the average cost of a modest one-bedroom apartment.
Housing assistance lifts 2.5 million Americans out of poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s alternative measure of poverty that takes into account government assistance. “Unfortunately, the resources we devote to housing assistance to the lowest income households remain woefully insufficient,” said Ms. Yentel. According to NLIHC’s latest analysis, we have a national shortage of 7.2 million affordable rental homes for extremely low income renters. “Even with today’s good news, more work needs to be done,” said Ms. Yentel. “With expanded housing resources to those with the greatest needs, we can lift millions of more Americans out of poverty.”
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.