Zillow: Number of Rent-Burdened Households Significant; BIPOC Renters Most Affected

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A new report released by Zillow, Seattle, found that nearly half of U.S. renter households in large metro areas are “rent-burdened.” And, BIPOC renter households are more likely than others to fall into that category.

Zillow defines “rent-burdened” as households that spend more than 30% of their income on monthly rent.

The company looked at households in the country’s largest 100 metro areas, finding 39 million households that rent their homes. Of those, 19 million fit the rent-burdened definition, and 9.4 million of those were severely rent-burdened. That means they spend more than half their income on monthly rent.

Looking by population segment, in 2022, the typical BIPOC renter household spent 34% of its income on rent compared with 29% for the typical white renter household.

“Despite a recent slowdown in rent hikes, rent burdens remain critically high, particularly in BIPOC communities. These financial pressures not only make homeownership increasingly elusive but also contribute to a broader economic disparity,” said Zillow Senior Economist Orphe Divounguy. “Combined with a persistent housing deficit and lower incomes, people of color have fewer housing options, are less likely to own, and those who do own have lower home values. We need focused efforts to tackle these issues, as stable housing is key to improving health, education and economic opportunities.”

Zillow acknowledged the vital role the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plays in providing rental assistance to low-income renters, but noted that the Housing Choice Voucher program only provides aid to 2.4 million cost-burdened families and individuals–a notable gap.