racial equity
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

The proportion of household income that goes toward monthly rent, utilities and fuel, calculated by dividing median rent by median household income for renters, presented for renters of various racial and ethnic groups. A high percentage may reflect relatively high rents, low incomes, or both.

Why is this important?

This figure indicates how affordable housing is for renters. The federal Housing and Urban Development Department guideline for affordability is that rent should consume no more than 30% of household income. High housing costs can force households to choose between paying for housing and meeting other basic needs such as food, clothing and health care.

How is Norfolk County doing?

In 2017-21, Hispanic and African American households typically spent a larger proportion of their income on rent than Asian and white residents did. Rents consumed 35% and 32% of the income of Hispanic and African American households compared to 28% for both Asian American and white households. Norfolk County's rates across all racial and ethnic groups were similar to those at both the state and national level, with the exception of Hispanics who paid more in Norfolk County than the nation (35% in Norfolk compare to 31% nationally).

Among comparison counties, Norfolk and Middlesex generally commanded equal or higher proportions of rent, while Essex was slightly higher.

Why do these disparities exist?

Historic and current policies and systems, from racist housing policies to employment discrimination to education systems that fail to equitably serve all populations, have prevented people of color from fully participating in our economy, locking them out of economic opportunity. This has resulted in lower incomes for people of color, which means housing costs are a greater burden. At the same time, housing costs are rising faster than incomes and affordable housing is limited.

Notes about the data

Multi-year data are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample. The American Community Survey combines five years of responses to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

snapshot
Rent as Percent of Household Income by Race/ Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Norfolk County28%32%35%28%
Essex County34%34%36%33%
Middlesex CountyN/A31%34%27%
Massachusetts30%34%36%29%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Data not presented for all racial/ethnic groups where the sample size was too small to provide reliable data. Regional rates calculated by weighting county medians based on share of population. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Median Rent by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Norfolk County$1,843$1,573$1,712$1,741
Essex County$1,582$1,421$1,370$1,412
Middlesex CountyN/A$1,550$1,647$1,807
Massachusetts$1,741$1,390$1,306$1,475

Source: U.S. Census Bureau






INDICATORS
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Language Diversity
Foreign-Born Population
Population by Age
People with Disabilities
Voter Registration
Voter Participation
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Jobs
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
Median Household Income
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity
Income in Relation to Poverty Level
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty by Age
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Seniors Living in Poverty
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity
Overall Housing Cost Burden
Median Home Value
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Renting
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving SNAP
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity
Food Insecurity
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity
Protected Land
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality
Early Prenatal Care
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions
People 65 or Older Living Alone
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity



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