Many households struggle to afford a decent, safe place to live. Since 2000, rents have risen while the number of renters needing affordable housing has increased. These two pressures make finding affordable housing even tougher for America’s poorest households.
The data used to create this map were updated on April 27, 2017. See below for details.
These data come from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) administrative databases. We consider data from HUD’s administrative systems more complete than the data tabulations from the American Housing Survey that may be used to estimate federal rental assistance. However, the administrative data do not capture certain HUD programs, such as housing assistance programs to Native Americans.
USDA data for 2000 were unavailable, and are imputed using 2006 and 2012 USDA data.
These data come from the US Department of Agriculture’s administrative databases. Data for 2000 were unavailable and are imputed using 2006 and 2012 data.
Federal housing assistance data come from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) administrative databases. We consider data come from HUD’s administrative systems more complete than the data tabulations from the American Housing Survey that may be used to estimate federal rental assistance. However, the administrative data do not capture some HUD programs, such as housing assistance programs for Native Americans. Federal rental assistance funded by the US Department of Agriculture is also not included
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ELI RENTER HOUSEHOLDS
Extremely low income (ELI) households earn no more than 30 percent of area median income. The 2014 federal Appropriations Act changed the definition of ELI as of July 1, 2014, to represent the higher of HUD’s 30 percent of income limits or the current federal poverty level. For more information, click here.
UNITS PER 100
The number of adequate, affordable, and available rental units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.
The total number of available and adequate rental units in this county affordable to extremely low-income households.
ABOUT THIS MAP
The figures in this analysis represent a best estimate of the affordable rental housing gap and federal assistance for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households at the county level in the United States. The data analyzed come from multiple sources: the American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample from the Census (via the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series from the Minnesota Population Center), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD’s) Public and Indian Housing Information Center and Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System, the HUD Section 8 Income Limits, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Housing Service and ACS pre-tabulated data from the Census. The data on HUD-assisted housing represent a best estimate of the total number of HUD-subsidized ELI households. We include only those programs for which we can obtain data from HUD—namely, Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Moderate Rehabilitation, and Section 8 New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and other Multifamily—and only those recipients who are not rent-burdened.
The data on rental housing programs funded through the USDA are counts of ELI households living in USDA Section 515 properties and receiving USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance.
In a small number of counties, the analysis produces negative estimates for adequate, affordable, and available units when federal assistance is removed. These estimates are not negative in reality but are likely a result of sampling error from the ACS. To adjust for this error, we set the unassisted unit count to zero and adjust all affected variables accordingly. This adjustment affects only this small subset of counties and has no effect on the national estimates. For more detail on the methodology, click here.
The Assisted Housing Initiative is a project of the Urban Institute, made possible by support from Housing Authority Insurance, Inc. (HAI, Inc.), to provide fact-based analysis about public and assisted housing. The views expressed in this and other Assisted Housing Initiative products are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute or HAI, Inc., their trustees, or their funders. Funders do not determine research findings or the insights and recommendations of Urban experts. Read our terms of service here.