News Column

Families of Color Face Heavy Housing Costs

March 15, 2013

Staff --


Nearly half of Hispanic and African-American families in the U.S. can't afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent, according to analysis from the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC). The report, Out of Reach 2013, is a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) on the affordability of rental housing for low-wage workers.

Full-time workers must earn $18.79 an hour to pay for a decent two-bedroom apartment, according to federal guidelines of paying no more than 30 percent of income on housing. Renters on average earn $14.32 an hour.

"Finding affordable housing is a challenge for all low-income Americans, but our analysis demonstrates it is even more burdensome for families of color," Philip Tegeler, PRRAC president, said in a statement. "This should be a wake-up call for the administration and Congress that addressing housing costs, and creating more affordable housing, must be a national priority."

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says families who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered "cost burdened" and are limited in their ability to pay for basic necessities such as groceries and health care.

Among its findings, the study concluded that 46 percent of Hispanic families are at or below the necessary income threshold of $39,080, which is considered sufficient to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rate of $977 a month. More than 75 percent of non-Hispanic white families are at or above the income threshold.

The report can be downloaded here (PDF).

The PRRAC is a civil rights policy organization that sponsors social science research, provides technical assistance, and convenes advocates and researchers around particular race and poverty issues.

Source: (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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