Financial Security
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity

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Rent as Percent of Household Income by Race/ Ethnicity, 2016-20

What does this measure?

The proportion of household income that goes toward monthly rent, utilities and fuel, calculated by dividing median rent by median household income for renters, presented for renters of various racial and ethnic groups.

Why is this important?

This figure indicates how affordable housing is for renters. The federal Housing and Urban Development Department guideline for affordability is that rent should consume no more than 30% of household income. High housing costs can force households to choose between paying for housing and meeting other basic needs such as food, clothing and health care.

How is our region doing?

In 2016-20, racial and ethnic minorities in the region typically paid a larger proportion of their income on rent than white residents did. The proportion was 30% for African Americans, 35% for Hispanics and 26% for Asian Americans, compared to 28% for whites. While racial and ethnic disparities existed at the state and national levels as well, renters in all groups in the region paid a smaller proportion of their income on rent than in Massachusetts and had proportions similar to the U.S. as a whole, excepting Hispanics, who were paying more (35% in MetroWest, compared to 31%, nationally).

Compared to the region in 2016-20, Middlesex and Norfolk generally commanded equal or higher proportions of rent, while Worcester was lower.

Why do these disparities exist?

Research connects lower incomes and higher poverty rates among people of color to historic and current policies and practices that disadvantaged people of color. These policies and systems, ranging from inequitable access to housing to employment discrimination to education systems that fail to equitably serve all populations, have prevented people of color from fully participating in our economy, locking them out of economic opportunity. This has resulted in lower incomes for people of color, which means housing costs are a greater burden. At the same time, housing costs are rising faster than incomes and affordable housing is limited.

Notes about the data

Multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in January.

Rent as Percent of Household Income by Race/ Ethnicity, 2016-20
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States27%33%31%27%
Massachusetts30%35%36%29%
Region26%30%35%28%
Middlesex County27%30%35%26%
Norfolk County29%33%36%28%
Worcester County24%26%35%27%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau




Median Rent by Race/Ethnicity, 2016-20
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States$1,498$1,029$1,193$1,122
Massachusetts$1,658$1,331$1,239$1,408
Region$1,750$1,374$1,319$1,548
Middlesex County$1,878$1,499$1,568$1,727
Norfolk County$1,764$1,487$1,634$1,678
Worcester County$1,616$1,229$1,082$1,199

Source: U.S. Census Bureau




INDICATORS REGIONAL TREND
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
School Spending Per Student Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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