More renters 'burdened' by home, utility costs

May 24, 2012|Yvonne Wenger

Feeling overburdened by your utility bills paired with your monthly rent? Join the growing ranks of Americans and Baltimoreans.

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire reports that post-recession, more renters feel the strain of spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities. That's according to research by Jessica Bean, the institute's vulnerable families research associate.

In 2010, 49 percent of all renters spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Younger renters and those in the West tend to be the most “cost burdened,” the report says. “Cost burdened” is defined as those who spend at least a third of their income on rent and utilities.

A similar analysis of the 2006-2010 American Community Survey by Vital Signs found that the number of Baltimore renters who pay more than 30 percent of their income on a monthly payment jumped to nearly 53 percent from 40 percent in 2000.

Those with mortgages didn't fare much better. Forty percent of Baltimore homeowners spent more than 30 percent of their income on their monthly payment, up from 31.6 percent in 2000.

Bean, the New Hampshire researcher, said the results of the study show a need for public housing programs.

“This research also dem­onstrates that the lowest-earning households experienced the smallest increases in cost burden over time, indicating that without the housing programs already in existence, America’s most vulnerable households likely would have fared even worse,” Bean said in a statement.

The study found that the percentage of renters whose cost burdens increased between 2007 and 2010 spanned all regions.

Here are some other study highlights, according to the Carsey Institute:

  • Renters younger than 25 were most often cost-burdened both before and after the recession. Nearly 60 percent of young renters fell into that category in 2010.
  • The largest increase of cost-burdened renters were those with a household income between $20,000 and $50,000.
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