Maps

The American Worker's Housing Affordability Crisis

Nearly a quarter of working households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

Image
Shutterstock

More than one in five (24 percent) of working American households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing, according to a new report from the Center for Housing Policy. Between 2008 and 2010, 19 of the 50 largest metro areas saw the number of working households with severe housing cost burdens increase. The study notes that the decline in housing prices has not offset the effects of unemployment and lagging incomes.

The report defines "working households" as "those that worked at least 20 hours per week, on average, and had a household income of no more than 120 percent of the median income in their area."  According to this definition, there were 45.1 million working households in 2010, split similarly between homeowners (22.6 million) and renters (22.5 million).

But where is the housing cost burden highest?

The percent of working people with a severe housing burden varies considerably by metro, according to the map above, by my colleague Zara Matheson of MPI.

Miami tops the list of metros with the most severe housing costs burden: nearly 43 percent of working households spend more than half of their income for housing there. A large percentage of working households also face severe housing costs burdens in Los Angeles (38 percent), San Diego (37 percent), Riverside, California (34 percent), and New York City (34 percent).

On the other hand, the percentage of working households facing severe housing cost burdens is much smaller in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (15 percent), Buffalo (16 percent), San Antonio (17 percent), Rochester, New York (17 percent), and Kansas City, Missouri (17 percent). 

To dig into the data for specific metros, click here.
 
Top image: Svetlana Larina / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

  • Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More
    Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here