Housing data are available for most large metropolitan regions in the Atlanta Fed's Southeast region. However, many midsized metropolitan, micropolitan, and nonmetro areas lack detailed data on rental housing affordability and housing supply needs by income level. These data are important for state and local governments, affordable housing developers, and housing advocates to inform housing policy. Therefore, the Atlanta Fed partnered with the Shimberg Center at the University of Florida to analyze census data using a methodology developed for Shimberg's periodic Rental Market Study for the state of Florida (Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, 2013, 2016). This paper covers the six states that are fully or partially in the Atlanta Fed's District: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
In this paper, the authors provide a regional snapshot of housing affordability and the availability of affordable rental housing units at several scales for the Atlanta Fed's District, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). They include figures for city, metropolitan, and state areas as well as regional figures for nonmetro areas. The authors segment the data by household income using the area median income (AMI) of each respective region. They provide estimates for renter households within five major income brackets: extremely low income (0 to 30 percent AMI), very low income (30.01 to 50 percent AMI), low income (50.01 to 80 percent AMI), moderate income (80.01 to 120 percent AMI), and upper income (more than 120 percent AMI).
The authors use two measures of housing affordability: 1) the share of cost-burdened households and 2) affordable and available rental housing supply. Metrics include the percent of cost-burdened renter households (people who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing) and extremely cost-burdened renter households (people who pay more than 50 percent of their income on housing). Metrics also include the deficit or surplus in rental units that are both available and affordable to households at each of the above area median-income brackets. These measures tend to correlate, with high percentages of cost-burdened households associated with significant deficits in affordable and available units for low- and moderate-income households.