We use cookies on our website to give you the best online experience. Please know that if you continue to browse on our site, you agree to this use. You can always block or disable cookies using your browser settings. To find out more, please review our privacy policy.

COVID-19 RESOURCES AND INFORMATION: See the Atlanta Fed's list of publications, information, and resources; listen to our Pandemic Response webinar series.

Southeastern Rental Affordability Tracker

The availability of stable and affordable housing in quality neighborhoods can provide households the opportunity for economic mobility and resilience and be a competitive advantage for communities seeking to attract and retain employers. However, low- and moderate-income renters are limited in the rents they are able to afford and therefore, the housing choices they have. This tool provides estimates of the location and share of renter households that pay unaffordable rent across the Southeast. It can also be used to understand market-level gaps in available rental housing stock at various income levels and geographies.

The tool displays the state of rental affordability and availability in the Southeast using 2015 through 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data from the US Census Bureau. Users can visualize data at the state, region, or city level. (See the “Data Definitions and Sources” section for information on the methodology and regional definitions.) This tool demonstrates the abundance of renter households that are cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened—paying more than 30 percent or 50 percent, respectively, of their income on housing—and shows the pressing need for additional affordable rental units throughout the Southeast. The lack of affordable rental housing is generally due to rising rents that outpace income growth, a higher demand for rentals, and the loss of low-cost rental housing units.

Communities looking to increase their supply of affordable housing and achieve a better balance of housing options at all rent levels can use this tracker to help define housing affordability challenges by exploring the availability of affordable rentals and presence of cost-burdened renter households in their area.

This tool is an update of an earlier data analysis performed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida.

This tool does not capture the impacts of COVID-19, such as potential increases in cost-burdened households due to job loss or reduced earnings or rises in rent after 2019. Comparable ACS data capturing the COVID-19 impacts on income and rental housing are not available at this time.

Explore the Data

How the Dashboards Work

This dashboard provides rental housing affordability measures in charts and maps based on a selected geography (state, region, or city) and year.

Rental Affordability Snapshot

This snapshot includes a pie graph of the overall share of cost-burdened renter households in a chosen area and year and a map of the share of cost-burdened renter households by region. The map allows for easy comparison across the six states that lie fully or partially within the Atlanta Fed's District. For example, you can use the map to look at the percent of cost-burdened households in the Miami-Dade MSA plus Monroe County, Florida, in 2019 to learn that 57 percent of renter households are cost-burdened.

The snapshot also includes a breakdown of the share of cost-burdened renter households by family income. Income categories are based on the area median income (AMI) displayed above the chart. Categories (extremely low income, very low income, low income, moderate income, and upper income) are defined in the "Data Definitions and Sources" section below.

Affordable and Available Rental Housing Units

In this section, you will see the estimated number of rental units that are affordable and available per 100 renter households for the geography and income category you selected. You can also see the surplus or deficit of units in each category. For example, you can look at the number of affordable and available units for renters at or below 50 percent AMI in the Miami-Dade MSA plus Monroe County, Florida, in 2019 to learn that for every 100 renter households, there are only 26 rental units that are both affordable and available.

Individual Renter Demographics

This section provides the share of cost-burdened renters, rather than renter households, by race or ethnicity and by age. While the Rental Affordability Snapshot breaks down the share of cost-burdened households, demographic information such as race or ethnicity and age is measured at the individual level rather than at the household level. Thus, we calculate the share of all individuals in cost-burdened households by race or ethnicity and age.

The "Select Income Level" menu allows the user to explore these data further by the income level of the renter household. Demographic data include the share of cost-burdened renters by race or ethnicity using the census categories of (non-Hispanic) Asian, (non-Hispanic) Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and (non-Hispanic) White. For simplicity, these categories are labeled Asian, Black, Latinx, and White, respectively. The share of cost-burdened renters by age are also displayed using typical age-range categories (5 or younger, 6 to 17, 18 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55 or older). This section can be used to identify vulnerable renter populations. For example, you can use these charts to find the percent of cost-burdened, low-income (80 percent AMI or below) Asian renters in the Miami-Dade MSA plus Monroe County, Florida, in 2019 to learn that 40 percent of low-income Asian renters are severely cost-burdened and 45 percent are cost-burdened. If the census estimate for individuals in any race or ethnicity or age category is too small to report with statistical confidence, then data are not displayed.

Data Definitions and Sources

Data Definitions

Income categories:

  • Extremely low income: A renter household for which household income was equal to or less than 30 percent of the regional AMI.
  • Very low income: A renter household for which household income was more than 30 percent and equal to or less than 50 percent of the regional AMI.
  • Low income: A renter household for which household income was more than 50 percent and equal to or less than 80 percent of the regional AMI.
  • Moderate income: A renter household for which household income was more than 80 percent and equal to or less than 120 percent of the regional AMI.
  • Upper Income: A renter household for which household incomes was more than 120 percent of the regional AMI.

Area median income (AMI): The calculated family median income within the region, provided in the Rental Affordability Snapshot. For data displayed at the state level, the AMI used varies by region. See the methodology section of "Rental Housing Affordability in the Southeast" for a detailed description of how the AMIs were calculated.

Cost burden:

  • Cost burdened: Renter households for which gross rent was between 30 and 50 percent of the monthly household income.
  • Severely cost burdened: Renter households for which gross rent was more than 50 percent of the monthly household income.
  • Total cost burdened: All renter households for which gross rent was more than 30 percent of the monthly household income (the sum of cost-burdened and severely cost-burdened households).

Affordable and available rental units: A unit is considered affordable if gross rent did not exceed 30 percent of the monthly household income at the given income threshold, adjusted for number of rooms. A unit is available if it is either vacant or currently occupied by a household at or below the given income threshold. The surplus/deficit is calculated as the total number of rental units that were affordable and available at a given income level minus the total number of renter households at or below that corresponding income level. The affordable and available units per 100 renter households are calculated as the number of rental units that were affordable and available to households at or below a given income threshold per 100 households at or below that income level.

Regions: Census Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) were used to re-create cities and the metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan areas defined as regions in this analysis. We assigned PUMAs as closely as possible to the actual boundaries of these regions; however, in some cases, the difference between the PUMA geography and the standard census geography requires either the addition or subtraction of certain counties. For details, see the Data and Methodology sections of the Atlanta Fed's Community and Economic Development paper "Rental Housing Affordability in the Southeast."

Data Sources

We constructed the regional snapshot of rental housing affordability and the availability of rental housing units at several scales for the Atlanta Fed's District by using the US Census Bureau's 2015 through 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS).

Contact Us

Pearse Haley

Pearse Haley
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Mary Hirt

Mary Hirt
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Sarah Stein

Sarah Stein
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

portrait of Douglas White, Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida

Douglas White
Shimberg Center for Housing Studies University of Florida
Center for Business and Economic Research, Louisiana State University, Shreveport

 

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta logo

logo for the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies