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One-Third of Americans Burdened by Housing Costs

Nearly one-third of Americans are burdened by housing costs, meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs. The states most saturated with cost-burdened households are New York and California, according to an analysis by Construction Coverage

In California, 40.5% of households are housing cost-burdened and in New York 37.5% are cost-burdened. 

Construction Coverage revealed the cities with the highest percentages of housing cost-burdened households across the nation. 

Among cities with more than 350,000 residents, Miami ranked No. 1 for housing cost-burdened households with 52.1% of all households spending 30% or more of their income on housing. Miami was followed by Los Angeles (50.4%); Long Beach, California (46.2%); New Orleans (45.2%); New York (44.7%); Anaheim, California (43.5%); San Diego (43.1%); Fresno, California (42.9%); Oakland, California (40.7%); Memphis, Tennessee (40.6%); and Boston (40.5%). 

Housing costs in many of these cities are higher than the national median while incomes lag the national average. Among the 15 largest cities with the highest percentage of cost-burdened households, the average median monthly housing cost is $1,349, compared to $1,082 for the nation overall. The average median income for the 15 cities is $58,059 compared to $61,937 for the nation overall. 

Among midsize cities, Newark, New Jersey, ranked No. 1 for housing cost-burdened households with 53.6% of households, followed by Hialeah, Florida, with 51.7% of households. Midsize cities were defined as cities with between 150,000 and 350,000 residents.

El Cajon, California, ranked No. 1 among small cities with the highest percentages of households that are housing cost-burdened with 56.1%, followed by Bridgeport, Connecticut, with 52.8%. Small cities had a population of at least 100,000 residents to “improve relevance.” 

The report also states that renter households are more likely to be housing cost-burdened than homeowner households. About 46% of renter households in the nation are housing cost-burdened, while 22.3% of owner households are housing cost-burdened. 

In Miami, 36.3% of owner households are cost-burdened, while 59.1% of renter households are cost-burdened. This discrepancy holds true for most cities. 

Construction Coverage pointed out that across the nation the share of housing cost-burdened households has dropped 6 percentage points since the Great Recession, but “it is likely to increase again as the U.S. faces an unprecedented economic downturn due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”

The firm explained that “Renters may be doubly hurt in the current economic crisis due to their increased likelihood of being cost-burdened and not having the same financial protections as homeowners.” 

About Author: Krista F. Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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