A lack of affordable housing is one of the most fundamental challenges communities in the Verde River Watershed face. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we compared the proportion of households spending more than 30% of their income on housing in each region to the national average.
How is it measured?
The data used to indicate affordable housing was derived from B25106: Tenure by Housing Costs as a Percentage of Household income in the Past 12 Months. These data were developed from Selected Monthly Owner Costs as a Percentage of Household Income for owner-occupied and Gross Rent as a Percentage of Household Income for renter-occupied units. In either case (owner- or renter-occupied), variable B25106 provides the number of households allocating total income to housing at three levels: (1) Less than 20%, (2) 20 to 29%, and (3) 30% or More. For this indicator of affordable housing, we calculated the proportion of households allocating less than 30% to housing. The “30% of income spent on housing” threshold is a widely recognized indicator of housing costs. For example, the Federal Reserve characterizes a household as “housing cost burdened” if it spends more than 30 percent of its income on housing costs. In 2017, on average, 32% of all households were housing burdened nationally, meaning 68% spent less than 30% of income on housing.
In recognition of these national statistics, we linearly scaled the affordable housing indicator between 50% and 100%. Therefore, regions with more than 50% of households spending more than 30% of income on housing, would receive a grade of 0 (F). Conversely, regions with 100% of households spending less than 30% of income on housing received a grade of 100 (A). Using this scoring system, a region at the national average of 68% of households spending less than 30% of income on housing would receive a D.