“Housing is a human right,” Julián Castro, the former Obama Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, wrote in the preamble to his “People First Housing” platform in June. He’s one of a few Democratic contenders who have spoken about affordable housing in recent weeks, an issue that’s historically received limited attention on the campaign trail. But housing’s newfound importance makes good sense: As In These Times has noted, the economic prospects for everyday Americans are hardly sunny, even after the putative rebounds made by the nation since the Great Recession.
While there are ample reasons to doubt the progressive promises made by the likes of Castro, the need to address the shortage of affordable housing could not be more real. And with the recent release of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report on the gap between wage-earners and rent prices, now is an important moment for candidates to outline their plans to address the issue. Here are 10 statistics that outline the U.S. housing crisis:
- 24.7%: U.S. renters who spend more than half their income on rent.
- 49.5%: Those who spend more than the federal threshold of “affordable” (30% of income).
- 7,000,000: Nationwide shortage of affordable homes for low-income renters.
- 552,830: People experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2018.
- 7,400,000: Americans forced to move in with friends or family.
- 32%: Increase in median rent from 2001 to 2015.
- 97%: Increase in the number of homes renting for $2,000 or more between 2005 and 2015.
- 80%: U.S. markets where home prices are growing faster than wages.
- 1%: U.S. counties where a fair-market one-bedroom rental home is affordable for a full-time minimum-wage worker.
- 103: Weekly hours worked at minimum wage needed to afford a one-bedroom home at national average fair-market rent.