Leading Urbanist Richard Florida Talks about How Affordable Housing Can Boost Economic Growth

In its latest podcast episode, the Opportunity Starts at Home multisector affordable homes campaign talks to Dr. Richard Florida about the complex nexus between housing affordability and economic productivity.  Because of a lack of affordable housing in high-wage, high-productivity areas, many workers – particularly those without a college education – are unable to live where good jobs are available. Many of these productivity “hubs,” which offer the greatest chances for upward mobility, are places where housing costs are unaffordable for the people who need the opportunity the most. And for those modest wage earners who do live in high-productivity hubs, much of their gains are consumed by high housing costs. These factors and the resulting loss in productivity and wages create a major drag on economic growth nationally. 

“Many of these places do offer greater upward mobility, and the only people who can get a toehold on them are the already advantaged,” explained Dr. Florida.  “Because we have not built enough housing in these superstar places, we get a shock to our national productivity which is in the trillions.  It’s a national imperative that we work together to make sure that we have the affordable housing we need."

Researchers Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, whom Dr. Florida references in the podcast, estimate the lack of affordable housing costs the economy roughly $1.6 trillion a year in lost productivity and wages.  If affordable housing options enabled workers to move freely to these productivity hubs, they estimate annual wages would increase $8,775 for the average worker, and America’s overall GDP would be 13.5% higher.

Listen to the podcast episode at: https://bit.ly/2Tpkh6E 

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