WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The findings of a new study organized by the Center for Housing Policy indicate that American working-class families spend, on average, more than half of their incomes on rent.

The cost of housing rose by almost 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, resulting in families spending over 50 percent of their earnings on housing, CBS News is reporting.

Median incomes also fell over 3 percent for working class families, who are traditionally defined by someone working 20 hours or more per week and earning an amount not exceeding 120 percent of a given area’s median income.

Experts reportedly stated that the number of working class families paying more than half their incomes for rent would have been higher had so many families not fallen below the work and income levels that define working class due to underemployment or unemployment.

“This suggests that the decline in working households came from the lower end of the income range and included many households vulnerable to severe housing cost burden,” study co-author Janet Viveiros was quoted as saying by CBS News.

Area residents have additionally grappled with the effects of housing cost increases. As CBSDC reported in March, rental rates in D.C., Virginia and Maryland are among the nation’s highest.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released a report, “Out of Reach,” which specified that area residents would have to earn between $20.72 and $27.15 per hour to afford a residence.

The Coalition further defined truly affording a place as not spending more than 30 percent of one’s income.


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