Adobe Stock/Tomasz Zajda

Housing affordability has been under the spotlight in prime locations across the country that not only host many jobs, but that also have a desirable coastal location. Now, the crisis has spread according to this Bloomberg article, impacting many Midwest locations that previously seemed immune.

Earning $40,000 a year in Omaha used to be enough to make rent comfortably. Not anymore.

Housing costs are slipping out of reach for the middle class in smaller and medium-size cities across the U.S., the latest sign that the affordability crisis that started on the coasts is moving inland, according to research released on Friday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

From 2011 to 2018, the proportion of households making $30,000 to $45,000 a year that were “cost-burdened” -- paying more than 30% of their income on rent -- soared the most in metros including Nashville, Tennessee; Greenville, South Carolina; and McAllen, Texas.

Omaha came in ninth on the list, a worse showing than San Francisco or New York, which showed relatively little change over the period despite having notoriously pricey housing markets.

The data highlight a harsh reality of the U.S. economy a decade into the longest expansion on record: For people who don’t make big salaries, there are fewer and fewer affordable places to go.

“The lowest-income people have always had an absurdly high cost of living,” said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a research associate at the Center and lead author of the report. “But the affordability crisis that we’re seeing now is hitting middle-income renters, and it’s hitting them across the country.”

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