Housing Affordability for Renters
What does this measure?
The proportion of household income that goes toward monthly rent, utilities and fuel, calculated by dividing median rent by median household income for renters.
Why is this important?
This figure indicates how affordable housing is for renters. The federal Housing and Urban Development Department guideline for affordability is that rent should consume no more than 30% of household income.
How is our county doing?
Renters in Essex County spent 36% of their household income on rent in 2010-14, similar to the state level, and a bit higher than renters nationwide (33%). The share of income going to rent increased 8 percentage points since 2000 in Essex County, on par with state and national affordability over the same timeframe.
The least affordable local areas for renters were Lawrence and Lynn, where rent consumed 44% and 43% of income, respectively.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County was less affordable for renters when compared to Lake, IL (32%) and Middlesex, MA (31%), but similar to Westchester, NY (35%) in 2010-14. Essex County and Westchester had the largest increases in the share of income going to rent since 2000 among the comparison counties.
Notes about the data
Multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.