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More renters found housing unaffordable last year as incomes declined, and more are likely to be squeezed this year, given rising rents. The share of renters paying 30% or more of their household income on housing costs — the government threshold to determine if housing is unaffordable — rose to 53% last year from 51.5% in 2009 and about 50% in 2008, according to 2010 Census data released today. While median rents remained stable last year at $855 a month, median national household incomes, adjusted for inflation, fell 2.2% — putting the squeeze on renter budgets. The share of renter households spending half or more of their income on housing rose to 27.4% last year from 26.4% in 2009, while the share of homeowners with mortgages in the same situation rose to 15.1% from 14.7%, the data show. "Americans continue to struggle to pay for housing, especially renters," says Daniel McCue, research manager at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.
by Maria Popova What Dutch highways have to do with Canadian documentaries and the psychology of protests. Last week, we explored 7 essential books about cities , perhaps the most influential of which was the 1961 volume The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects by prolific author , philosopher and urbanism icon Lewis Mumford .
More Science :: Feature Articles :: August 18, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print See Inside Shantytowns, favelas and jhopadpattis turn out to be places of surprising innovation By Robert Neuwirth Oshodi market, located at a major crossroads in the northern part of Lagos, Nigeria, was an entrepreneurial marvel—until a raid by security forces in 2009 demolished it. Image: Stuart Franklin Magnum Photos