Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - Renter incomes fell during the economic recessions that began in 2001 and 2007; as of 2014, they remained well below the 2001 level. At the same time, rental costs have risen as the supply of rental units has failed to keep pace with a record-setting surge in the number of renter households.
The growing gap between rents and incomes has particularly squeezed low-income families. From 2001 to 2013, the number of unassisted renter households with very low incomes (no greater than 50 percent of the area median income) that are paying more than half their income for rental costs or live in severely substandard housing — i.e., those with “worst-case needs” — rose 54 percent, from 5 million households in 2001 to 7.7 million in 2013. Families with children have experienced the largest growth in worst-case needs.