Study finds increase in cost-burdened renters

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released its biennial rental housing report, and it found that 21.3 million renters spend 30% or more of income towards rent.

December 14, 2015 |
Study finds increase in cost-burdened renters

Photo: Tom Ipri/Creative Commons

The 2015 report on rental housing from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has been released

The report, America’s Rental Housing: Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand, found that 43 million families and individuals live in rental housing, which is 9 million more households than 2005. The rise is the largest 10-year gain on record. 

Renters continue to spend a larger portion of their income on rent. In 2014, 21.3 million renters were classified as cost burdened, meaning they spent more than 30% of their income on rent. In 2001, only 14.8 million individuals or families spent 30% or more on rent. Nearly 49% of renters are cost burdened, and 26% are categorized as severely cost burdened (paying more than half of income towards rent).  

“More families are renting and too many of them are struggling as supply fails to meet demand and stagnant incomes fail to keep up with rising rents,” said Julia Stasch, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in a statement. “The affordability of rental housing is a critical national issue that deserves more attention and more action from policymakers."

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