Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing

affordable housing Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing
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A lack of affordable housing is a widespread American problem. EfficientGov uncovered which states have the least affordable housing opportunities for their populations.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States is in the midst of an epic housing crisis and the challenge is growing. People earning minimum wage, full-time cannot afford a 2-bedroom apartment for their partners and children anywhere. Currently, the elderly, disabled and lower income families are at greatest risk for becoming homeless.

Efficientgov took HUD Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program data, a federal rent subsidy program for eligible low-income families, to learn how many affordable housing opportunities states and territories have. We took the total number of affordable housing units and total population to create a ratio, and looked at affordability factors like average wages and employment rates.

We not only found the best states for affordable housing, but also the Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing. Explore where they fall short below.

Editor’s Notes: The list is accurate as of August 12, 2016. State land area data is from Census.gov.

  1. Nevada
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes : 62
  • State population: 2,890,845
  • Annual mean wage by state: $42,800
  • Unemployment rate: 6.4

 

Nevada has the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest annual mean wage on our Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing.

To qualify for low income housing in Nevada, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $39,050.

  1. Arizona
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes : 192
  • State population: 6,828,065
  • Annual mean wage by state: $45,310
  • Unemployment rate: 5.8

 

To qualify for low income housing in Arizona, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $37,550.

  1. Texas
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 826
  • State population: 27,469,114
  • Annual mean wage by state: $46,560
  • Unemployment rate: 4.5

 

Texas has the second highest population in our Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing list behind the number 6 state, California. But, it is far less dense than the Golden State in population. The Lone Star State is our largest at 268,596 square miles, nearly 100,000 square miles larger than California. Space for affordable housing is not as limited as other factors.

To qualify for low income housing in Texas, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $40,200.

  1. Florida
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes : 701
  • State population: 20,271,272
  • Annual mean wage by state: $42,860
  • Unemployment rate: 4.7

 

To qualify for low income housing in Florida, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $36,600.

  1. Utah
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes : 105
  • State population: 2,995,919
  • Annual mean wage by state: $44,130
  • Unemployment rate: 4

 

To qualify for low income housing in Utah, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $44,150.

  1. California
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 1,768
  • State population: 39,144,818
  • Annual mean wage by state: $55,260
  • Unemployment rate: 5.4

 

California has the largest population and largest number of affordable housing complexes on our list of the Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing. However, its cities lack consistency in their offerings. For example, Palo Alto, a small city, has 10 affordable housing options where as the far larger city of San Jose offers just 32.

To qualify for low income housing in California, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $44,800.

  1. Georgia
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 492
  • State population: 10,214,860
  • Annual mean wage by state: $45,420
  • Unemployment rate: 5.1

 

To qualify for low income housing in Georgia, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $37,750.

  1. Virginia
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 479
  • State population: 8,382,993
  • Annual mean wage by state: $51,670
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7

 

Virginia is the smallest state by land area in our list at 42,775 square miles. It is also tied with our number 9 state, Colorado, for lowest unemployment rate in the Top 10 Worst States for Affordable Housing.

To qualify for low income housing in Virginia, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $49,600.

  1. Colorado
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 334
  • State population: 5,456,574
  • Annual mean wage by state: $51,180
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7

 

To qualify for low income housing in Colorado, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $47,300.

  1. Washington
  • State total amount of affordable housing complexes: 448
  • State population: 7,170,351
  • Annual mean wage by state: $54,010
  • Unemployment rate: 5.8

 

To qualify for low income housing in Washington, a two-person household has a statewide income limit of $46,900.

For a full list of state and countywide income limits for affordable housing, search HUDUser.gov.

About the author

Megan Wells, EfficientGov Contributor

Megan Wells, EfficientGov Contributor

Megan Wells is a data journalist and digital content editor based in San Francisco, California.