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8.3 million U.S. households had worst case housing needs: study
Last Updated: 2017-08-11 07:32 | Xinhua
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A newly released study showed that 8.3 million households had worst case housing needs in the United States in 2015.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs study released on Wednesday, severe housing problems are on the rise in the country despite continued signs of a strengthening national economy. In 2015, 8.3 million U.S. households had worst case needs, up from 7.72 million in 2013 and approaching the record high of 8.48 million in 2011.

These households are defined as very low-income renters who do not receive government housing assistance and who paid more than one-half of their income for rent, lived in severely inadequate conditions, or both.

The absolute number of households with worst case needs increased across all racial and ethnic groups. The prevalence of worst case needs during 2015 was 47 percent for Hispanic renters, 45 percent for non-Hispanic White renters, 37 percent for non-Hispanic Black renters, and 41 percent for others. The share of very low-income renters experiencing worst case needs increased between 2013 and 2015 for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic renters but not for others, according to the study.

Most cases of worst case needs are caused by severe rent burdens-paying more than one-half of income for rent. An increase by 700,000 in the number of very low-income renters who lack housing assistance-the group at risk of experiencing worst case needs-explains about 402,000 of the 582,000 new cases of worst case needs between 2013 and 2015, the study demonstrated.

Worst case needs affected substantial shares of very low-income renters in each of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. New York and Los Angeles are at the forefront of the list of U.S. metropolitan areas with worst case housing needs. 44 percent of around 1.8 million very poor households in New York struggled to afford housing and 54.5 percent of more than one million very poor households in Los Angeles experienced worst case needs in 2015, the study said.

The report draws on data from the American Housing Survey which has been conducted every two years since 1973.

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