Newscruncher is a daily series that breaks down the characteristics of your town by the numbers. You can see more posts by clicking the Newscruncher link above the headline or by checking out our weekend roundups. If you see any technical issues with this map, or if you'd like to suggest ideas for future Newscruncher articles, please email email@example.com.
It's the week of Thanksgiving, and Patch is continuing its series of maps that raise awareness about people in need. The map above shows a snapshot across the West Valley of the percentage of people living in poverty and the percentage of people who spent 35 percent or more of their income on rent.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition defines affordable rent as at or below 30 percent of income for low-income families. We've mapped homes that are paying at least 5 percentage points more than this "affordable" level. We've also used the United States Census Bureau's definition for poverty, which compares the total family income in the last 12 months with income thresholds that vary by family size, to decide poverty status.
Affordable housing is a problem across the country: In 2011, for every 100 low-income renters, there were only 55 units available that wouldn’t cost them more than 30 percent of what they were taking home.
The data in this map are from the United States Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey. These values are an estimate for 2011 taking into account 60 months of collected data. You can learn more about the survey here.
Using your cursor, you can hover over any census tract – the geographic region defined by the U.S. Census – and see in the box in the upper right hand corner of the map the the percentage of people living in poverty and the percentage of people who spent 35 percent or more of their income on rent. Toggle between 'poor families' and 'rent expenses' variables of the map.
What do you think explains the locations where people are paying more than 35 percent for their rent? Tell us in a comment or a blog post.
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