Quick Take: Housing Affordability & Transit Costs

Transit costs are tightly tied to the real estate. Accordingly, the same quality of home, with similar rent, can be vastly less affordable depending on where it located.

When you look at affordability as including transit costs, you can quickly see unbelievable levels of burden throughout rural America.

The map below shows percent of income spent on housing and transportation by a very low-income individual rental households. The vast majority of rural areas are near or over 100%! (Note: the map is interactive, you can move it around and zoom in.)

While the cities overall look better for burden, the extreme wealth inequality in cities and the tendency for low-wage earners to have to travel far for work exacerbates costs in ways that are not clear from maps like the one above.

In some urban areas experiencing significant gentrification, you can see really striking patterns around racial lines. For example, CREATELab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, created a series of maps looking at neighborhood changes over time, focused on high-transit access areas.

View the full data story from CREATE Lab.