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From: American Housing Survey (AHS) ListServ

From: American Housing Survey (AHS) ListServ <ahs@huduser.org>


A new report based on American Housing Survey data, "Investigating Very High Rent Burdens Among Renters in the American Housing Survey" is available for download from the HUD USER web site, http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ahs/ahsprev.html#analyses.


This report was prepared by Frederick J. Eggers and Fouad Moumen of Econometrica, Inc., under contract with HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research. It takes a look at the puzzling phenomenon present in AHS and other survey datasets: persistently high incidence of renter households paying over 50 percent (in some cases, over 100 percent) of their incomes for housing.


The analysis finds that the AHS shows somewhat higher incidence of high burdens than other sources, but other Census Bureau surveys show fairly high incidence as well. Longitudinal analysis observed the same households "flipping" in and out of the high burden class over time, from changes on both the cost and income sides. A surprising result is that households with high burdens do not move out of their units more frequently than those with lower burdens.


There is some evidence that observed high burdens may be the result of measurement error. For example, data quality checks of survey responses revealed missing or inconsistent responses for households with severe rent burdens. It is possible that, for some of their households, methods used to adjust these responses to create complete and consistent data records resulted in their showing a high rent burden when, in fact, their rent burden was below the worst case needs threshold.


Dav Vandenbroucke
Senior Economist
U.S. Dept. HUD



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