WORKING FAMILIES THAT SPEND MORE THAN half of their paychecks on close-in housing already have it tough. But a new report from the Center for Housing Policy, the research arm of the National Housing Conference, finds that housing and transportation combine to take two-thirds of their income. These families also cut back on spending for food, clothing, and health care.
On the other hand, working families with affordable housing farther out spend three times as much on transportation and face long commutes to work.
The report defines working families as “low-to-moderate-income families who work the equivalent of a full-time job and earn from the minimum annual wage of $10,700 and up to 120 percent of the median income in their area. Housing is considered affordable if it makes up 30 percent or less of a family's total expenditures.”
On average, the report says, for every $1,000 that working families reduce housing costs, transportation costs go up $775. Barbara Lipman, author of the study and research director of the center, says the report drew on 2002 consumer spending data, and that the situation today has “probably gotten worse. It doesn't capture the gas prices at all.”
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