One in three US households—38 million of them1 — struggle with housing costs that jeopardize their financial security. As a greater proportion of a family’s income goes to mortgage or rent, less is available for other necessities with fewer opportunities to save and invest for the future. Unaffordable housing costs directly contribute to poor health outcomes, reduced child well-being, and higher levels of financial insecurity. This harms not only families but also their communities.

When housing is too expensive for workers, employers struggle to fill jobs. Roads are clogged by commuters forced to live far from work. Income goes to mortgage and rent instead of local businesses. People’s attachment to a town or neighborhood—and with it, their feelings of belonging and responsibility to the community—wither when the four walls that surround them are a source of stress rather than security.

Since the Great Recession, new housing construction has lagged in the areas with the greatest job growth, driving up housing costs faster than incomes. In other parts of the country, homes may be affordable but in disrepair, or mortgage financing has dried up. Nearly everywhere, renters are challenged to find housing they can afford and depend on.

Read the full article about housing affordability and financial security by the team at The Aspen Institute.