PRRAC Analysis Shows That Nearly Half Of African American And Hispanic Families In The US Face Burdensome Housing Costs

Mar 14, 2013, 09:39 ET from Poverty & Race Research Action Council

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly half of the African American and Hispanic families in the United States lack sufficient income to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent, according to a comprehensive analysis of Out of Reach 2013 conducted by Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC). Out of Reach 2013 is a widely circulated study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) on the affordability of rental housing for low-wage workers.

According to the Out of Reach 2013, a typical full time worker in the US must earn $18.79 per hour to afford a decent two bedroom apartment while spending no more than 30% of their income - the amount the government sets as "affordable" – on housing costs. Currently, an average renter earns about $14.32 hourly wage.

Furthermore, NLIHC estimates that a family will need an annual income of $39,080 to afford a two-bedroom apartment at an average fair market rent of $977. An analysis of data from the NLIHC study and the 2007-2011 American Community Survey show that there are 22,510,587 families in the US with annual income less than approximately $39,080.

This year PRRAC completed, for the first time, a racial breakdown of the NLIHC's annual housing affordability study. The analysis indicates that high percentages of African American and Hispanic families face significant cost burdens in trying to maintain sufficient housing.

"The results are stunning," said Philip Tegeler, the PRRAC president. "Finding affordable housing is a challenge for all low-income Americans, but our analysis demonstrates it is even more burdensome for families of color. This should be a wake-up call for the Administration and Congress that addressing housing costs, and creating more affordable housing, must be a national priority."

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says families who spend more than 30% of their annual income on housing are considered "cost burdened" and will have limited resources to invest on other basic necessities, such as health and nutrition.

The PRRAC analysis found that:

  • Almost half (47.6%) of African American families do not have sufficient income to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent.
  • Among Hispanic families of any race, approximately 46.0% have income at or below the estimated income threshold.
  • The percentage of non-Hispanic White families, who have insufficient income to afford the average two-bedroom FMR, is approximately 23.4%.
  • Around 22.8% of the Asian families may not have enough income to afford decent two-bedroom unit at the average fair market rent.

Mr. Tegeler said that PRRAC joins with the NLIHC in calling for increased production of affordable housing in the country.

The NLIHC said that In order to close the gap between the demand for affordable housing and the supply, "we would need to add 4.5 million units affordable to ELI households. This is not an unattainable goal. Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) would provide states with the dollars they need to expand the stock of housing that is affordable to ELI households."

The PRRAC analysis can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

For additional information on Out of Reach 2013, visit

The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC's primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues. PRRAC sponsors social science research, provides technical assistance, and convenes advocates and researchers around particular race and poverty issues.  To join PRRAC's biweekly email list go to

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SOURCE Poverty & Race Research Action Council