Imbalance in Housing Aid: Mortgage Interest Deduction vs. Section 8

With the tax reform debate now fully underway, Apartment List examined the popular mortgage interest deduction (MID) and compared federal expenditure on the MID to spending on Section 8 rental assistance programs. In 2015, federal expenditure on the MID was more than double the funding for Section 8. Additionally, the MID is a highly regressive benefit, with 85 percent of expenditure going to high-income households.

Poverty in the Suburbs: Are Cities Prepared to Deal with the Growing Problem?

There is growing concern about poverty in the suburbs, known as the “suburbanization of poverty.” Apartment List found that, while poverty has grown in both suburban and urban areas, it is increasing faster in the suburbs. While a larger share of the country’s poor population lives in dense urban areas than any other neighborhood type, poverty is becoming increasingly suburban, as the share of the poor population in low-density and medium-density urban areas, considered “suburban,” grows.

As Knowledge Workers Thrive, Blue Collar and Service Sectors Left Behind

Although many metros have experienced overall wage growth over the past decade, very few have achieved something called “inclusive growth” that benefits all workers. Over the past decade, “post-rent wages,” or wages left after deducting median rent costs, decreased for service workers (-7 percent) and blue-collar workers (-5 percent), while only knowledge workers saw an increase (6 percent). The combination of unequal wage growth and rising rents has led to an increase in inequality between blue-collar, knowledge and service workers in most metros.

Rents and Reporters

Despite the importance of journalism, US reporter employment has been consistently falling over the past decade. One in five reporters lives in New York, Washington, DC or Los Angeles, which may skew coverage away from local issues and viewpoints. To better understand trends in the journalism industry and the challenges reporters face, we analyzed BLS data and Census rent data from 2005-2015. We find that journalists salaries have not kept up with those in other industries. For example, public relations specialists’ salaries increased 14% over the past decade, while journalist salaries fell 7%. Additionally, over the same time period, reporter employment fell 22% nationwide.

Even Experienced Teachers Can’t Afford to Live Where They Work

To better understand the challenges facing our educators, we analyzed data on teacher salaries and median rents in 50 U.S. cities. In almost a third of cities (primarily located on the coasts), teachers spend more than 30% of their income on rent. For example, in San Francisco and New York fifth year teachers have to spend nearly 70% of their income to rent a one bedroom. The situation seems to worsen as teachers become more experienced, with fifth and tenth-year teachers facing bigger challenges than first-year teachers. Teachers facing rents far out of their price range often must decide between long commutes or financial stress. If these trends continue, city officials and school districts may face increasing struggles to attract and retain teachers.