This brief uses data from the 2007 and 2010 American Community Survey to document changes in the proportion of household income spent on rental costs (rent plus utilities) during the Great Recession, by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) and place type (rural, suburban, or central city location). Particular attention is paid to how patterns of cost burden vary among renters of different ages and income levels and to the policy implications of these findings. Author Jessica Bean reports that nationwide, nearly half (49 percent) of all renters were “cost burdened” in 2010, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, with the highest rates occurring in the West and in central cities. Renters under the age of 25 were most often cost burdened both pre- and post-recession, with nearly 60 percent of young renters spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent in 2010.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 49


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2012. The Carsey Institute. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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