Study Shows Half Of Renters Can’t Afford Their Rent

"For Rent" sign stands in front of a house

Over the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of people choosing renting over buying. The housing crash of 2008 left many home owners finding themselves in foreclosure, and many people have been very reluctant to buy again. As a result, the market has tilted in the favor of landlords who can now charge almost anything they can please in this competitive market. But although many people still see renting as a less expensive alternative, it looks like many renters are seriously struggling. A new report released Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies paints a very different, and concerning picture. According to the results of their study, the number of cost burdened tenants (people who spend more than 30% of their income on rent) rose to 21.3 million within the last year. Of that, 26% of people stated that they spent more than half of their income on rent alone.

These increases are a result of the fact that rent prices are rising higher and more rapidly than people’s wages, creating a very serious gap in what people can afford. According to the report, “These trends have led to record numbers of renters paying excessive amounts of income for housing, with little prospect for meaningful improvement.” The research also found that the median cost to rent a new apartment has risen significantly since 2012, and is now at a shocking $1,372. While low-income households have been feeling the stress of this situation for quite some time, middle class families are also finding it increasingly difficult to get by. For many families, even those who were once considered relatively well off, having to choose between rent and groceries is becoming a very real decision.

Unfortunately, there is no sign of these conditions improving, which leaves many renters across the country wondering how they will make it from one month to the next.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


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