Housing burden: All residents should have access to quality, affordable homes. 

Insights & Analyses

  • Since 2000, the share of renters who are rent burdened nationwide has increased from 40 percent to 50 percent in 2020. The share of renters who are severely burdened increased from one in five to one in four over the same period. 
  • At least half of renters are currently rent burdened in 57 of the 100 largest cities in the US. 
  • Black and Latinx women renters are most likely to be rent burdened among all other race and gender groups identified by the census. 
  • Florida, Hawaii, and Louisiana have the highest shares of rent-burdened renters while North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska have the lowest. 
  • Because rent burdens are a function of costs and income, some high-cost cities that have experienced gentrification (like San Francisco) have a relatively lower share of rent-burdened residents and some lower-cost cities with large low-income populations (like Stockton) have high shares of rent-burdened residents.
  • The share of homeowners who are cost-burdened has declined since 2010 (from 30 to 22 percent), partly because the foreclosure crisis turned many homeowners into renters. Black and Latinx homeowners are still the most likely to be cost-burdened of all racial and ethnic groups identified by the census.

Drivers of Inequity

Lack of affordable housing production coupled with skyrocketing housing prices and stagnant wages for low-wage workers has caused the housing burden for poor Americans, particularly low-income renters, to increase following the recovery from the 2008 crisis. People of color are over-represented in these populations; this is due in part to a long history of racial segregation forged through practices such as racially restrictive housing covenants, redlining, and discriminatory lending. People of color are also more likely to rent than own a home because historical dispossession and discrimination have prevented accumulation of wealth and upward mobility.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to ensure affordable housing for all

Strategy in Action

Affordability is secured for generations in Boston's South Dorchester community. For almost 40 years, Boston's Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation has been working to build a stronger South Dorchester community area through affordable housing and commercial development, economic inclusion, transit equity, and deep resident engagement. The organization has converted many blighted properties into permanently affordable housing and commercial spaces. It has developed over 1,200 housing units, has a 1,000 rental unit portfolio, and has developed more than almost 50,000 square feet of community-oriented commercial space. In 2018, the organization mobilized 150 residents through the Anti-Displacement People's Assembly, delivered 1,700 pounds of fresh produce through their urban farming program, and facilitated 35 small businesses' energy retrofits. Read more.

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