Nearly one-quarter of all renters in the United States have income at or below 30% of the area median income, and three-quarters of these extremely low income renters are forced to spend more than half of their income on the cost of rent and utilities due to the ongoing shortage of affordable housing. In fact, there are just 31 affordable and available rental units for every 100 extremely low income renter households, according to NLIHC’s new report, Housing Spotlight: Affordable Housing is Nowhere to be Found for Millions.

The report provides a detailed look at the housing needs of low income renter households across the country by examining the gap between the supply and demand for affordable rental units at the national and state level, as well as for the 50 metropolitan areas with the largest renter populations. No state has more than 56 units affordable for every 100 extremely low income renter households and no metropolitan area has more than 47.

Current data show that homeownership rates and rental vacancy rates are at historic lows, factors which both drive up rents. At the same time, incomes are only just beginning to increase slightly. Furthermore, the bulk of new multifamily units are only affordable to middle or high income households, and there is a continued loss of public and assisted housing through demolition and conversion to market-rate developments.

Taken together, these trends indicate that without government intervention at the federal, state, and local level, the gap will keep growing.

Click here to download Housing Spotlight: Affordable Housing is Nowhere to be Found for Millions (PDF).

For More Information
Members of NLIHC are eligible for additional assistance with the data in this and other reports at no charge. Please contact Megan Bolton, NLIHC Research Director, at or 202-662-1530 x 245.

About Housing Spotlight
Housing Spotlight is a series of research briefs from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that uses data from different sources to highlight a variety of housing issues. Learn more at