Newscruncher is a daily series that breaks down the characteristics of your town by the numbers. You can see more posts by clicking the Newscruncher link above the headline or by checking out our weekend roundups. If you see any technical issues with this map, or if you'd like to suggest ideas for future Newscruncher articles, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The map above shows a snapshot of the percentage of people across town who spent 35 percent or more of their income on rent.
A popular rule of thumb is to devote around 25 or 30 percent of pre-tax income for rent. (Individual circumstances are inevitably more complex than rules of thumb, of course.)
But as rents continue to rise, more and more people may find it difficult to devote less than a third of their annual income.
Nationally, rents rose about 2.7 percent from last year as many people are continuing to opt for renting rather than homeownership.
This has resulted in more single-family homes being built for renters. In fact, homes built for rent rose to 5.8 percent last year from 4.8 percent the year prior. That’s the highest share of homes built for rent since around 1974.
Rent prices may decrease or at least decelerate as more rentals enter the market, but it may not be soon enough for some.
Nationally, the average hourly wage for renters is $14.32 this year while the income necessary to afford fair-market rent is generally $18.79 per hour.
The data in this map are from the United States Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey. These values are an estimate for 2011 taking into account 60 months of collected data. You can learn more about the survey here.
Using your cursor, you can hover over any census tract – the geographic region defined by the U.S. Census – and see in the box in the upper right hand corner of the map the percentage of people across town who spent 35 percent or more of their income on rent.
What do you think explains the differences in the percentage of people across town who spent 35 percent or more of their income on rent? Tell us in a comment or a blog post.