Severe Rent Burden
The percentage of renter-occupied households in the City of St. Louis that spend more than half of their income on rent
Black renters are more than twice as likely as white renters to spend more than 50% of their household income on rent.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Severe Rent Burden, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean the same percentage of white and black households spend more than half of their income on rent. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal; we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Severe Rent Burden measures the percentage of renter-occupied households in the City of St. Louis that spend more than half of their income on rent. In 2016, 17,713 households in the city were severely rent burdened, which represents 24.2% of all renter-occupied households.
Severe Rent Burden analysis
Renter-occupied households that spend more than half of their income on rent in St. Louis City.
|Renter-occupied households with severe rent burden
|Percent of renter-occupied households with severe rent burden
|2.130 to 1
Data Source: American Community Survey 1-year PUMS, 2016.
Data Note: PUMS data may differ slightly from estimates on American FactFinder due to differences in sampling. See PUMS technical documentation for more information. The number of sample cases is too small to report reliable estimates for additional racial groups.
What does this analysis mean?
Black households are more than twice as likely as white households to be severely rent-burdened. Among black households, 31.3% are severely rent-burdened, compared to 14.7% of white households. If rent burden rates were equitable, 6,252 fewer black households would spend more than half of their income on rent.
In addition, rent-burdened black households are home to more people than rent-burdened white households. Rent-burdened black households house 24,187 residents, for an average of 2.1 residents per household, while severely rent-burdened white households house 5,683 residents, for an average of 1.4 residents per household.
Why does Severe Rent Burden matter?
Severe Rent Burden is a strong indication of housing insecurity. Research shows that the lack of stable housing is strongly correlated with poorer, stress-related health outcomes, child poverty, and food insecurity. Housing insecurity is directly related to our city’s high rate of child homelessness. In 2016, 18.4% of all students in St. Louis public and charter schools reported experiencing homelessness. Children experiencing housing instability and homelessness are found more likely to be chronically absent and to perform poorly on tests.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
The Commission’s calls to action related to affordable rental housing include:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there racial disparity in Severe Rent Burden?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Severe Rent Burden?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Severe Rent Burden?
How can I learn more about this issue?
The Affordable Housing Commission Reports to the Community describe the state of affordable housing in the City of St. Louis. In the 2018 paper "Racial Rent Differences in U.S. Housing Markets," researchers found that households led by black residents pay more for identical housing in identical neighborhoods than their white counterparts and that this rent gap increases with the fraction of the neighborhood populated by white residents.