Capitol Alert: Californians cope with nation's highest housing cost burdens

dwalters@sacbee.comJune 27, 2014 

Except for those living in the state's most remote rural areas, Californians must contend with the nation's highest housing costs, both rental and ownership, relative to their incomes, a new nationwide study by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies reveals.

The massive report underscores a Census Bureau conclusion that when the cost of living, particularly housing, is included, California has the nation's highest rate of poverty, with nearly a quarter of its residents impoverished.

The Los Angeles-Orange County region has the nation's highest "cost burden" among all large and small metropolitan areas, with just under half of its households -- 2.1 million -- struggling to maintain housing, and half of those having "severe cost burdens." The reason for that ranking is that the region's residents have only moderate personal incomes but must shoulder relatively high housing costs.

Conversely, San Franciscans have higher housing costs than Angelenos, but their incomes are much higher, proportionately, so the San Francisco-Oakland area is No. 32 on the housing burden list with 42.7 percent of its households having "cost burdens."

California's other coastal regions join Los Angeles-Orange with relatively high housing cost burdens among 381 large metropolitan areas nationwide. San Diego is No. 5, San Bernardino-Riverside is No. 6, Fresno is No. 8, Monterey-Salinas is No. 9, Oxnard-Ventura is No. 10 and Santa Barbara is No. 11.

New York-New Jersey is No. 7, incidentally, while Miami is No. 3.

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