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Southern states have the largest share of renters with debt, although cities with the most people behind on rent are in California, New York, New Jersey and Florida, according to a recent report.
Renters across the U.S. are facing increased rent debt, with 14% of all renter households behind on payments. That is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels based on an analysis released by the National Equity Atlas and Right to City Alliance.
The data is pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and the University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research's Understanding Coronavirus in America survey.
The Rent Debt Dashboard shows there are more than 5 million people behind on rent with an estimated debt of $3,400 per household. Further, there is a total of $19.75 billion in renters debt held nationwide, according to the report.
When examined by state, renters in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Alaska and Georgia have the highest percentage of housing debt. On the other hand, Utah, Maine, Ohio, Idaho and Kansas are states with the lowest.
The five metro areas with the highest share of renters with debt include:
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Florida
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California
- New York City-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, New York
- Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois and surrounding areas
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, California
Overall, the share of renters with debt appears to be declining as the country reopens, with states including Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada, Vermont and Wisconsin seeing their numbers trend downward. Meanwhile, Detroit, Miami, Riverside and Seattle are the metro areas that haven't shown much improvement in renters with debt.
Among those who have fallen behind on rent payments, 76% are people who lost employment during the pandemic. Plus, 78% of low-income households making less than $50,000 per year have struggled to keep up with rent payments along with 63% of renters of color. This makes renters more vulnerable to eviction and a rise of other forms of debt like credit cards, utilities and car payments, according to the report.
To see more of the analysis click here.
Brent Woodie is an associate editor at Route Fifty.