Equitable Housing in Central Ohio:
Redefining Affordability for All
With a projected growth of one million more residents in Central Ohio by 2050, affordable housing is a hot topic. In an effort to ensure an equity and gender lens to the affordable housing issue in Central Ohio, Measurement Resources synthesized its research conducted for several of Central Ohio’s nonprofit organizations to ensure the realities and voices of this region’s residents most impacted by the lack of affordable housing are brought to light. What follows are a few highlights from this study; the full report is available for download.
What is affordable housing?
Typically, affordable housing refers to a family spending less than 30% of their post-tax income on housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that families paying more than 30% are considered “cost burdened, and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.” Therefore, each family, depending on their income, has a different level of affordable rent or mortgage.
How Significant is the Affordable Housing Problem?
In order to afford average rental and mortgage expenses, households need to earn at least $34,074 and $48,063 a year, respectively. Throughout Central Ohio, approximately 213,000 households, or 30% of all households are estimated to be in need of affordable housing, as their annual income is less than this threshold.
Which Communities Demonstrate the Greatest Need for More Affordable Housing?
Residents’ ZIP codes predict whether a resident is more or less likely to be housing cost burdened, and correlate to the income required to have access to affordable housing. As the ZIP codes approach downtown Columbus, the percentages of households that are cost burdened climb to as high as 69%. Renters that live in the suburbs have to earn more annually than those in central Columbus to access affordable housing.
Currently, individuals living in ZIP codes with high rates of housing cost burdened households and relatively low annual incomes have relatively fewer relocation options in terms of accessing housing throughout Central Ohio that is more affordable, which presents challenges in creating mixed-income neighborhoods.
Which Residents are Impacted Most by the Lack of Affordable Housing?
Stark inequities to obtaining affordable housing in Central Ohio exists for Black/African American populations. ZIP codes with high rates of housing cost burden are also the ZIP codes with the high rates of Black/African American populations. These data indicate that neighborhoods in Central Ohio are segregated based on race, with areas with high minority populations experiencing disproportionately high rates of cost burden when compared to predominately White neighborhoods. Predominately White neighborhoods have access to greater opportunities, such as higher-ranked schools.
Women and children are more likely to be impacted by the lack of access to affordable housing than any other group, especially single mothers living in predominately Black/African American neighborhoods. This is likely a result of a myriad of issues, one being that women are more likely to be taking on caregiving roles of both children and elderly individuals.