Map of the Month

Housing-Cost-Burdened Households Across Missouri

The U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), calculate a measure of the percent of household gross income committed to paying for basic housing costs. If more than 30% of household gross income is spent on housing costs, a household is considered housing-cost burdened. The definition of cost burden considers monthly rental fees and utilities for rental housing and mortgage payments, second mortgage payments, utilities, real estate taxes, association fees, and homeowner’s insurance for owner-occupied households.

The concept of measuring a housing-cost burden emerged as a policy indicator during the implementation of the United State Housing Act of 1937 and has been used as a tool to understand trends in housing affordability trends since. Initially, a household was considered cost burdened if spending greater than 20% of household income on housing costs. The policy definition of cost burden has evolved over time. The currently used 30% was adopted in the early 1980s by HUD and has been used as a tool to inform both mortgage-lending policy as well as policy regarding supports for low-income, subsidized housing. Households paying greater than 50% of their gross income for housing are considered severely housing-cost burdened. The paper “Who Can Afford to Live in a Home”, published by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2006, provides a policy history and discussions of methodology and interpretation that remain useful.

The U.S. Census Bureau publishes 1- and 5-year estimates of this indicator with counties with populations of 60,000+ receiving annual estimates and smaller-population counties an annual 5-year estimate. In order to compare all Missouri counties, these maps consider the most recent 5-year estimate from 2012-2016. To understand the impact of housing-cost burdened households on Missouri’s communities, we have created six maps that consider:

  • all households,
  • rental households,
  • owner-occupied households with a mortgage,
  • owner-occupied households without a mortgage,
  • households headed by those under age 65, and
  • households headed by those age 65 and older.

Cost-Burdened Housing in Missouri, 2012-2016

Approximately 30% of all Missouri households fall into the category of housing-cost burdened, spending 30% or more of gross income on housing costs. Nearly 50% of households that rent are housing-cost burdened, whereas a quarter of owner-occupied households making a mortgage payment are similarly cost burdened.

Approximately one in five households led by householders younger than 65 are cost burdened, and approximately 7% of senior householders fall into this category.

A careful consideration of these maps provides some surprises to the conventional wisdom that housing costs tend to be greater in higher-population-density areas. It’s important to keep in mind that the housing-cost burdened indicator is measuring the ratio of household income required for shelter to what is available for other household needs. Simply, whereas housing costs and values do tend to be higher in more population-dense areas, wages tend to be too. When considering the distribution by quintiles across Missouri counties, generally, southern Missouri households are more likely to be cost burdened compared to their rural northern Missouri neighbors. As a region, the Lake of the Ozarks/Truman Lake area is the densest area of cost-burdened owner-occupied housing as well as senior housing, at least partially accounted for by the region’s desirability as a retirement and/or second home destination. For seniors, the Branson area also has a high percent of both senior and renter households paying 30% or more of their gross household income on housing costs. The I-70 corridor, including Kansas City, Columbia, and the St. Louis metropolitan area tends to be most expensive for renters and households under 65.

Map of the Month

Renter-Occupied Housing Rates in Missouri Greater than National Rates

August and September mark the period when university students begin their Fall semester classes. These same months also mark the period when college towns across the country see an annual influx of temporary residents. In some cases, the return of college students represents only a minor change in a town’s population. In other cases, however, the result is more dramatic, causing long-time residents and homeowners to feel outnumbered by the sudden increase in short-term occupants. Is that necessarily the case, though?

Renter-occupied housing units in Missouri, 2010

In May 2015, the US Census published a report derived from the 2013 American Housing Survey. The report examined the relationship between owner-occupied housing units and renter-occupied housing units. At the national level, owner-occupied housing units dramatically outnumbered renter-occupied housing (57.0%, compared to just 30.3%). When comparing these national numbers to Missouri’s 2010 Census figures, though, a distinctly different picture forms. All totaled, 28 of Missouri’s 115 counties beat the national percentage for renter-owned housing units. For example, according to the 2010 Census, Boone County — home to the University of Missouri — shows a much more even split between owner-occupied and renter-occupied housing units (56.1% and 43.9%, respectively). Based on the same data, St. Louis City flips the national average completely, with 45.3% of its housing units recorded as owner-occupied, compared to 54.6% recorded as renter-occupied.

New American Community Survey Data Released for 2013

The 2013 American Community Survey (ACS), released today in its one-year version, provides a multitude of statistics that measure the social, economic and housing conditions of U.S. states, counties, and communities. More than 40 topics are available with today’s release, such as educational attainment, housing, employment, commuting, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

The ACS gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results.

“The American Community Survey is our country’s only source of small area estimates for social and demographic characteristics,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “As such, it is indispensable to our economic competitiveness and used by businesses, local governments and anyone in need of trusted, timely, detailed data.”

Also released today are two reports providing analysis on income and poverty for states and large metropolitan areas. The ACS three- and five-year data for 2013 will be released in October and December of this year, respectively.

Following are some highlights of the new ACS 2013 one-year release and related reports.

Income

  • For 2013, median household incomes were lower than the U.S. median ($52,250) in 28 states and higher in 19 states and D.C. (Three states did not have a statistically significant difference from the U.S. as a whole.)
  • In 2013, the states with the highest median household incomes were Maryland ($72,483) and Alaska ($72,237). Mississippi had the lowest ($37,963).
  • Median household income among the 25 most populous metro areas was highest in the Washington, D.C. ($90,149), San Francisco ($79,624), and Boston ($72,907) metro areas.

Income Inequality

Household Income: 2013 examined the Gini index for states and large metro areas. The Gini index is a summary measure of income inequality, ranging from 0 (complete equality) to 1 (complete inequality). Among the findings:

  • Five states and D.C. had Gini indexes higher than the U.S. index of .481; 36 states had lower Gini indexes than the U.S.
  • The Gini index of 15 states increased from 2012 to 2013. Alaska was the only state to have a decrease. All other states saw no significant change.
  • The highest Gini index was in the District of Columbia (0.532). Alaska’s (0.408) was among the lowest.

Poverty

  • Two states — New Hampshire and Wyoming — saw a decline in both the number and percentage of people in poverty. New Hampshire’s poverty rate declined from 10% in 2012 to 8.7% in 2013. Wyoming’s rate declined from 12.6% to 10.9%.
  • Three states saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty between 2012 and 2013. New Jersey’s poverty rate increased from 10.8% in 2012 to 11.4% in 2013; New Mexico increased from 20.8% to 21.9%, and Washington increased from 13.5% to 14.1%.
  • In 2013, Mississippi had the highest poverty rate among states (24%), followed by New Mexico (21.9%). Both states also had the highest percentage of the population below 125% of the poverty level: 30.3% in Mississippi and 28.3% in New Mexico. About one in 10 people in both states had incomes less than 50% of the poverty level.
  • Among large metropolitan areas, one of the lowest proportions of people with incomes less than 50% of the poverty level in 2013 was 4.2% in the Washington, D.C., metro area, while one of the highest proportions was 8.4% in the Phoenix metro area.

Health Insurance

  • Between 2012 and 2013, 13 states and Puerto Rico saw a statistically significant increase in the percentage of civilians covered by health insurance. Two states (Maine and New Jersey) saw a decrease.
  • Among people whose incomes were below 138% of the poverty threshold, 25.6% were uninsured in 2013. (Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty threshold.) Among people whose incomes were at or above 200% of the poverty threshold, 9.2% were uninsured in 2013.
  • Among the top 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the uninsured rates were highest in Miami (24.8%), Houston (22.8%), and Dallas (21.5%) and lowest in Boston (4.2%), Pittsburgh (7.5%), Minneapolis (8.1%), and Baltimore (8.7%).
  • Among the top 25 large metropolitan areas, Tampa, Detroit, and Riverside, Calif., had public coverage rates of 33% or higher.

Computer and Internet Access

The 2013 American Community Survey included new questions to produce statistics on computer and Internet access. Mandated by the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act, the data will help the Federal Communications Commission measure broadband access nationwide. The data will also help identify communities eligible for available grants to expand access.

Some findings: 83.8% of the nation’s households have a computer (either desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone). 74.4% have some form of Internet access at home. The Census Bureau is releasing a more detailed report on the new findings in early October.