Housing Cost Burden

Cost burden

While there are many different ways to measure housing affordability,
the most common standard used by many planners and researches is
cost burden. Cost burden is generally defined as paying
more than 30 percent of household income for housing (rent or mortgage,
plus the associated utilities). The dashboards on this page provide data
on cost burden in Virginia between 2012 and 2022.

The total percentage of cost burden households consists of households
that have no or negative income, are cost-burdened (spend between 30 and
50 percent of their income on housing), and severely cost-burdened
(spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing).

Cost burden map

The following dashboard shows a map of cost burden across Virginia
localities. You can filter the map by year (2012 to 2022) and by tenure
(homeowner or renter). Clicking on a locality or multiple localities
will show you a detailed breakdown of cost-burdened households by

Cost burden by income

Lower-income households have less money to spend across the basic
necessities we all need. Housing is the number one expense among a
majority of households, but households often have to make difficult
choices when it comes to choosing food on the table, getting adequate
medical care, or getting to work.

The following dashboard shows cost burden by income group, defined as
area median income (AMI) categories. Data is available at the state,
CBSA, and locality level.

Cost burden by household type

Households spend their income differently depending on their
household type. Seniors and families with young children often need to
spend more of their income on things like healthcare or childcare.
Because of these varying needs, different household types experience
cost burden disproportionately.

The following dashboard shows cost burden by household type. Data is
available at the state, CBSA, and locality level.

Cost burden by race

Systemic inequities have resulted in income and wealth disparities
that have in turn left many households of color with disproportionate
cost burden.

The following dashboard shows cost burden by race and ethnicity. Data
is available at the state, CBSA, and locality level.

Additional resources

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies


Greater Greater Washington

it means for a household to be cost-burdened

Data sources

Housing Affordability Strategy

CHAS data are sourced from custom tabulations of the American
Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates and are provided to the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development. Data are available at the
locality level from 2009 to 2022.

Inconsistencies exist across data dictionaries before 2012.
Therefore, Sourcebook only uses CHAS data from 2012 to 2022, when data
variables are consistent.

The data contained in Sourcebook is intended for informational, educational and research uses. The information may not be used for commercial purposes or re-marketed. Any reproduction and distribution of this information must clearly identify HousingForward Virginia and Sourcebook as the provider of the information.

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