Publications

Unaffordable Housing: Why Housing is So Expensive and What We Can Do About It

By Julia Baumel — August 20, 2020

America has a housing problem that keeps getting worse. Too many working and middle-class Americans can’t afford a decent place to rent or buy. This policy paper explores the causes of the affordable housing crisis, obstacles in the way of solving it, and some short- and long-term solutions to promote new construction and make existing housing more affordable.

Numbers At-A-Glance

  • 37.8 million

    renter and homeowner households paid more than 30% of their income on housing in 2019

  • In 95% of U.S. counties,

    a full-time worker earning federal or state minimum wage cannot afford to rent a modest, one-bedroom apartment

  • 75% of all residential land

    in many U.S. cities is zoned exclusively for single-family development, and this percentage is even higher in suburban areas

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