DEC. 19, 2013
In Miami Gardens and Hialeah, Fla., most renters pay more than 35 percent of their incomes on housing and utility costs. The two Miami suburbs typify a troubling trend that’s emerged in a large number of U.S. cities where enough good-paying jobs aren’t available to adequately pay for costly housing.
Many Americans – particularly renters – saw housing costs steadily climb in recent years. At the same time, wages remained relatively flat for most segments of the workforce, meaning families spent a greater share of their incomes on housing instead of food, health and other necessities.
Nationally, slightly more than half of rental households, monthly gross rent costs last year accounted for 30 percent or more of household income -- the general rule-of-thumb maximum that families should not exceed. For homeowners with a mortgage, about a third of households reported housing-related costs surpassing the 30-percent standard, according to Census estimates.
While the problem is growing nationally, it's most apparent in select urban areas. A review of Census Bureau data for 2010-2012 indicates that in more than three-quarters of all larger cities with populations exceeding 100,000, the majority of rental households exceed the 30-percent standard.
Densely populated neighborhoods, commercial district city squares and multiple public transit lines all span the city of Cambridge, Mass., creating an environment ideal for walking.
The most recent Census counts estimate nearly a quarter of the city’s residents walk to work, far more than any other larger U.S. city.
Many localities across the country are continuing to push policies and planning initiatives aimed at making communities more walkable. Recent census figures depict a wide variation in commuting habits among the nation’s urban centers, showing some have done much more than others.
Nationally, only a small fraction of people primarily walk to work – the measure the Census Bureau estimates in its annual American Communities Survey. In a select group of cities, though, recent data illustrates the extent to which walking has emerged as an everyday means of commuting.
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