Paying 30 percent to half your income on rent means you're "cost-burdened," according to a recent Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University report.
Well, if that's true, then a majority of urban Southern California renters are cost-burdened.
A map (below) created as part of the report shows the most cost-burdened counties across the nation in red. And it makes Southern California look like it's on fire.
Of all SoCal's core counties — Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial, not to mention San Luis Opispo and Kern — only one doesn't meet the cost-burdened threshold: the relatively low-income farm country of Imperial County.
The report used 2013 U.S. Census data to come up with its numbers. In all those places except Imperial County, more than 50 percent of renters pay 30 percent or more of their incomes on rent.
A summary of the report says:
In the 10 highest-cost metros — which include Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco — three-quarters of renters earning $30,000-$44,999 and just under half of those earning $45,000-$74,999 had cost burdens.
In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area, 57.6 of renters are cost-burdened. Almost exactly one-third of renters (32.3 percent) are "severely cost-burdened," meaning they pay half or more of their income on rent, according to the report.
About 1.2 million households in our region are cost-burdened, Harvard says.
Nationwide, a summary shows, minorities faced higher cost burdens for both buying and renting shelter:
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Twenty-six percent of black households, 23 percent of Hispanic households and 20 percent of Asian and other minority households were severely burdened in 2013, compared with just 14 percent of white households.
Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, says the housing crisis we've been moaning about in recent years in L.A. is a national problem.
"While affordability for moderate-income renters is hitting some cities and regions harder than others," he says, "an acute shortage of affordable housing for lowest-income renters is being felt everywhere."