Renters Struggle More than Homeowners to Pay for Food, Health Care

A new analysis by the Urban Institute found that renters are more likely than homeowners to struggle with paying for basic needs like food and health care, by 46 to 30 percent. Based on data from the Urban Institute’s 2017 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey and adjusted for socioeconomic differences, the analysis shows that 30 percent of renters reported food insecurity, with 13 percent reporting trouble meeting rent payments. By comparison, only 19 percent of homeowners experienced food insecurity and less than 9 percent missed a mortgage payment in the last year. Although low-income homeowners generally fare better than low-income renters, nearly half of homeowners earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line also reported difficulties meeting basic needs. The analysis points out that these findings add to growing evidence that “resource-strapped families face impossible decisions and trade-offs when paying for housing and basic needs like food and medical care every month.”

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