HousingWorks: 59% of young renters burdened by housing costs

A majority of Rhode Island’s renters aged 18 to 24 are burdened by housing costs, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday by HousingWorks RI. More

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HousingWorks: 59% of young renters burdened by housing costs

COURTESY HOUSINGWORKS RI
ACCORDING TO U.S. CENSUS data analyzed by HousingWorks RI, 59 percent of all Rhode Island renters aged 18-24 spend at least 30 percent of their household income on housing costs and are considered "cost burdened."
Posted 6/18/14

PROVIDENCE – A majority of Rhode Island’s renters aged 18 to 24 are burdened by housing costs, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday by HousingWorks RI.

Fifty-nine percent of adolescent renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, a higher percentage than any other age demographic. Thirty-seven percent of renters in that age group are considered “severely cost burdened,” spending at least half their household income on housing costs.

Renters between the ages of 18 and 24 represent 9 percent of all renter households in Rhode Island, and earn a median annual income of $26,020, HousingWorks said.

“Even when we factored out 18 [to] 24-year-olds who are in college and not in the labor force, the percentage of those renter households who are cost burdened is quite high,” said Nicole Lagace, interim executive director at HousingWorks RI. “This is troubling because we want our young people to be able to afford their housing now in order to be able to save enough to eventually invest back in their community through homeownership.”

Rhode Islanders aged 25-44 represent the largest age demographic among Rhode Island renters, making up 40 percent of the state’s renter population. The HousingWorks report showed that 45 percent of renters between the ages of 25 and 44 are cost-burdened, and their median household income of $40,000 falls short of the $57,000 needed to afford a median-priced single-family home in Rhode Island.

Forty-five percent of renters aged 65 and older are burdened by housing costs, representing 18 percent of all renter households, while half of those between the ages of 45 and 64 (32 percent of all renters) are cost burdened.

“These findings should serve as a reminder that housing affordability is essential to Rhode Island’s economic future and the well-being and prosperity of our residents,” Lagace said. “Policymakers must have an integrated approach to improving housing affordability in order to support a wide range of housing options for those across the age spectrum.”

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