Worst Case Rental Housing Needs in the St. Louis MSA

In the St. Louis metropolitan area in 1996, the most recent year for which data are available from the American Housing Survey, 38,900 households had "worst case" needs for rental housing assistance. These estimates do not include the homeless.

Households are considered to have worst case needs for housing assistance when they:

  • are renters with incomes below 50 percent of area median income (which, in St. Louis, was $23,600 for a four-person household in 1998);
  • either pay over half their income for rent or live in severely inadequate housing; and
  • are not assisted by Federal, state, or local housing assistance programs.

In the St. Louis area:

  • those with worst-case needs are 13 percent of renters and 4 percent of all households. Some 44 percent of the eligible unassisted very-low-income renters have worst case needs. In 1997, 52 percent of eligible renters in the U.S., and 47 percent of eligible renters in the Midwest, had worst case needs.
  • 16,200 of the 38,900 households with worst case needs are families with children, and at least 12,200 other households have elderly or disabled members.
  • 64 percent of the worst case heads of household that are not elderly or disabled are working.
  • 41 percent of the worst case households are minorities.
  • 37,500 are paying over half their income for rent, while 2,200 live in severely inadequate housing.
  • fully 85 percent of those with worst case needs live in adequate, uncrowded housing, with severe rent burden as their only housing problem.
  • most - 85 percent - of those with worst case needs have incomes below 30 percent of area median income, which in 1998 was $14,100 per year for a four-person household.

The St. Louis area had severe shortages of housing affordable to renters with incomes below 30 percent of median. In 1996, for every 100 renter households with these "extremely low" incomes, there were only 97 units they could afford. And since many of these units were occupied by higher-income renters, only 62 units were both affordable and available for every 100 extremely-low-income renters.

The boundaries of the geographical area surveyed by the American Housing Survey changed for this MSA from those included in the previous American Housing Survey in 1991. Therefore, data on change over time are not available at this time.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009