Rural Research Notes present summary findings from HAC and other research and analyses on social, economic, and housing characteristics of rural Americans.

Kids Count Research Note

Children’s Economic Well-Being Continues to Suffer Since the Recession

Each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases the KIDS COUNT Data Book,a report that assesses child well-being using an index of 16 indicators. The report ranks each of the 50 states on these indicators organized into 4 domains: (1) Economic Well-Being, (2) Education, (3) Health and (4) Family and Community. In particular, the Data Book focuses on children within the context of the United States’ post-recession economic recovery. The report presents a comparison of data from 2008 and data from 2013 (the most recently available) to assess how children have fared since the economic crisis.

Kids Count Research Note Page 1

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently released its annual Out of Reach report. The report is known for defining the Housing Wage; the wage one must earn in order to afford a rental unit at Fair Market Rent (FMR) 1.

According to the most recent Out of Reach report, the 2015 Housing Wage is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $13.50 for a one-bedroom unit at FMR 2. This means that in order to afford a two-bedroom rental unit, a worker would have to make over 2.5 times the federal minium wage. In fact, in 13 states and Washington, DC the Housing Wage is more than $20 an hour. There is no state in the U.S. where a minimum wage earner can afford a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, even if they work full time. NLIHC suggests that the nation needs to add 7.1 million units affordable to Extremely Low Income households in order to meet the demand.

How are Rural Renters Faring?

The Out of Reach report also highlights some of the special challenges faced by residents in rural communities. According to the report, hourly wages in rural areas are insufficient to meet the cost of living, despite lower housing costs compared to nonrural areas. For example, the estimated renter wage in West Virgina is $10.26 and $11.38 in Kentucky, and in both states about 70% of Extremely Low Income renters pay more than half of their incomes toward rent. Paying so much for rent means that there is less money left over for other necessities like food and healthcare.

Two-Bedroom Housing Wage Map 3

RN-Out of Reach 2015-Map

1 Affordable rent is defined as not costing more than 30% of a person’s income. FMR determined by HUD

2 Estimates of Fair Market Rent are produced annually by HUD, and measure the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units occupied by recent movers in a local housing market.

3 National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2015). Out of Reach 2015. Washington, DC. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2015_FULL.pdf

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Download the Out of Reach report published by National Low Income Housing Coalition

Additional HAC Resources on Housing
HAC’s Decennial Report: Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in 21st Century.
Access data on housing affordability for your community at HAC’s

Out of Reach Report 2015

Low-Income Workers Continue to Face Housing Affordability Challenges

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently released its annual Out of Reach report. The report is known for defining the Housing RN-Out of Reach 2015-Cover Page 1Wage; the wage one must earn in order to afford a rental unit at Fair Market Rent (FMR) 1.

According to the most recent Out of Reach report, the 2015 Housing Wage is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $13.50 for a one-bedroom unit at FMR 2. This means that in order to afford a two-bedroom rental unit, a worker would have to make over 2.5 times the federal minium wage. In fact, in 13 states and Washington, DC the Housing Wage is more than $20 an hour. There is no state in the U.S. where a minimum wage earner can afford a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, even if they work full time. NLIHC suggests that the nation needs to add 7.1 million units affordable to Extremely Low Income households in order to meet the demand.

How are Rural Renters Faring?

The Out of Reach report also highlights some of the special challenges faced by residents in rural communities. According to the report, hourly wages in rural areas are insufficient to meet the cost of living, despite lower housing costs compared to nonrural areas. For example, the estimated renter wage in West Virgina is $10.26 and $11.38 in Kentucky, and in both states about 70% of Extremely Low Income renters pay more than half of their incomes toward rent. Paying so much for rent means that there is less money left over for other necessities like food and healthcare.

Two-Bedroom Housing Wage Map 3

RN-Out of Reach 2015-Map

1 Affordable rent is defined as not costing more than 30% of a person’s income. FMR determined by HUD

2 Estimates of Fair Market Rent are produced annually by HUD, and measure the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units occupied by recent movers in a local housing market.

3 National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2015). Out of Reach 2015. Washington, DC. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2015_FULL.pdf

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Download the Out of Reach report published by National Low Income Housing Coalition

Additional HAC Resources on Housing
HAC’s Decennial Report: Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in 21st Century.
Access data on housing affordability for your community at HAC’s

Making the Case for Long Term, Affordable Mortgage Financing for Manufactured Homes

rrb_manufactured_hsg_thbOn March 21, 2013, CFED released Toward a Sustainable and Responsible Expansion of Affordable Mortgages for Manufactured Homes, which reported findings from an analysis of data on $1. 7 billion in manufactured home mortgage lending from a variety of lenders and investors who provide long-term home mortgage products to owners and buyers of manufactured homes. The report finds that manufactured home mortgage borrower repayment records are generally comparable to the site-built mortgage market. In some instances, the repayment records of manufactured home mortgage borrowers were better than comparable general mortgage portfolios…

Read the Complete Rural Research Brief

Fair Market Rent Out of Reach for Many, Especially for Minimum Wage Earners

rrb_oor2013_thb

On March 11, 2013, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released Out of Reach 2013, which highlights the difficulty low wage earners throughout all 50 states face in affording market rate housing. The report finds that a person working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 cannot afford a two bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent (FMR), in any state throughout the United States. Excluding several counties in Washington and Oregon (which have higher state minimum wages), there is no county in the U.S. where a one-bedroom unit at the FMR is affordable to a minimum wage earner.

Rural Implications

Though housing costs are usually lower in rural areas than urban locales, renters in many rural areas are still not earning enough to afford quality housing. Out of Reach calculated an average wage for renters in nonmetropolitan America of $10.01, which falls $3 short of the hourly Housing Wage necessary to afford FMR housing. In all but one state, the nonmetropolitan two-bedroom housing wage is out of reach for those earning the average renter wage.

Download the Research Brief

HUD Report Finds Continued Increase in Worst Case Housing Needs

hud_worst_case_2013Nearly 8.5 million very low-income families experience worst case housing needs according to a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report to Congress released on February 25th, 2013. HUD determines worst case housing needs by calculating the total number of very low-income renters that pay more than half of their income in rent, or reside in substandard or inadequate housing conditions (or both).

Download the research brief

Analysis of the Supplemental Poverty Measure

sup-pov-cov-thmb

HAC’s 2011 Research Note: Analysis of the Supplemental Poverty Measure

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a new “supplemental” poverty measure. This new measure represents an attempt by the Census Bureau to address some of the limitations associated with the official poverty estimate measure, which was created in the 1960s. It should be noted that the supplemental measure is not intended to replace the current and official poverty measure, which is used by an estimated 82 federal programs as a factor in allocating monies,i but instead is being offered as a way “to better reflect contemporary social and economic realities and government policy effects and thus provide a further understanding of economic conditions and trends.

USDA's Self Help Housing Program Supports Rural Minority Homeownership (Sections 502 & 523)

Self-help housing may well be the federal government’s most successful homeownership activity, and minorities make up a significant proportion of USDA’s self-help program recipients. However, it is often under threat from the administration and Congress.

USDA’s Self Help Housing Program Supports Rural Minority Homeownership(PDF)

Rural Seniors and Their Homes: Research Note

Of the approximately 114 million occupied housing units in the United States, roughly 27 million, or 23 percent of all homes, are located in nonmetropolitan areas. Of these, 6 million, or 23 percent, are occupied by elderly-headed households.

An overwhelming majority of nonmetro senior households (89 percent) own their homes, compared to the nationwide homeownership rate of 67 percent for households of all ages. Whether seniors own or rent their homes is a significant factor affecting their housing and economic well being. Elderly rural renters generally face more challenges and greater needs associated with their housing than elderly rural homeowners.

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