More than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities.
That’s the finding of an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007.
Since the end of 2010, rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages, according to data from the real estate firm Zillow and the Labor Department.
“It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.”
The crisis reflects one of the shortcomings of the recovery from the Great Recession: Income has failed to match rent increases. At the same time, construction has failed to keep pace with demand from renters. The recession pushed more millennials, former homeowners who faced foreclosure and low-wage workers into rental housing.
A result is that 2.3 million more families face pressures that leave them perilously close to homelessness. It’s a reality faced by Lisette Duarte, a 37-year-old living in a two-bedroom apartment with her family in northeast Los Angeles.