Nearly 16.5 million renter households have at least one worker in an industry likely to be immediately affected by efforts to flatten the curve in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, UC Berkeley. According to researchers, this means nearly 50 million people live in a renter household likely experiencing immediate job or income losses. Children (27%) and young adults (16%) make up a disproportionate share of this vulnerable population, and nearly half (46%) are prime-age workers.
Among likely-impacted renter households, more than 7.1 million were already experiencing housing cost burdens and are likely to be especially vulnerable. Roughly 43 percent (or 7.1 million) of likely-impacted renter households were already struggling with rental cost burdens before the COVID-19 crisis took hold. That share stretches even higher in the District of Columbia (54%), Florida (51%), California (50%), and other high-cost, hard-hit areas like Connecticut (48%), New Jersey (47%), and New York (46%).
Thirty percent of the nation’s likely-impacted renter households are in California (2.3 million), Texas (1.4 million), New York (1.1 million), and Florida (994,200).
However, researchers note that every state has its share of renter households with workers in immediately-impacted industries. In Nevada, where workers in renter households are disproportionately likely to have jobs in food service, entertainment, and tourism, nearly half of renter households (48%) are likely facing job or income losses . In Indiana and Michigan, workers in renter households not only skew towards those service industries but also toward non-essential manufacturing, making more than 40% of their renter households vulnerable to COVID-related economic impacts (44% and 42%, respectively).
"Households that were already struggling with rent burdens are likely to be particularly vulnerable to housing instability, and may become more so as benefits lag and much of the country continues to stay home," Terner Center researchers add. "Federal assistance that can help keep these renters housed is critical, both for weathering the near-term crisis and to speed the path to an economic recovery that is broadly shared."