Renters more financially stressed than homeowners

Study shows renters have harder time paying for basic needs

Almost half of renters say they have trouble paying for basic needs, according to a recent report by Washington think tank The Urban Institute.

The study – which is a deeper dive into the results of its 2017 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey that polled 7,500 people – drilled down to better assess the divide between renters and owners.

It revealed that 46% of renters said they had trouble paying for basic needs, while just 36% of homeowners said the same.

It also suggested that renters prioritize keeping a roof over their heads above putting food on the table.

Of the expenses that were giving renters the most trouble, food was named the No. 1 source of insecurity at 30%, while making rent payments was problematic for 13%.

Renters were also less confident they could shoulder emergency expenses, with 28% reporting low confidence in their ability to come up with an extra $400 if needed.

“Our research suggests that families are forgoing other basic needs just to maintain a roof over their heads,” the report stated. “Although some proposed policy solutions would increase funding for rental assistance programs and reduce barriers to housing construction, safety net programs for renters are in jeopardy, and supports for low-income homeowners are limited.”

The Institute said policies to help renters in financial straits are necessary to address the situation.

“Our research adds to growing evidence that resource-strapped families face impossible decisions and trade-offs when paying for housing and basic needs like food and medical care every month,” the report added. “Weakening the housing safety net would only increase material hardships they already experience.”


3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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