Special Report

Missed Housing Payments Are Piling up in Nearly Every State

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

10. West Virginia
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 30.2% (total: 235,930)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 49.3% (17th highest)
> Median household income: $44,097 (the lowest)
> June unemployment: 10.4% (18th highest)

West Virginia is one of only 10 states where more than 30% of adults either recently missed or will likely soon miss a rent or mortgage payment. The typical household in West Virginia earns just $44,097, the lowest median income of any state. Low incomes in West Virginia likely mean a larger share of residents are financially unprepared to weather an economic downturn.

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9. South Dakota
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 30.3% (total: 121,552)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 41.0% (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $56,274 (19th lowest)
> June unemployment: 7.2% (9th lowest)

Housing is relatively affordable in South Dakota. Only 41.0% of renters in the state are burdened by housing costs — spending 30% or more of their income on rent — and the typical home in the state is worth about three times the state’s median income. Nationwide, about half of all renters are housing-cost burdened and the typical home is worth 3.7 times the median household income.

Despite the state’s relative affordability, a larger than average share of adults in the state are struggling to pay for housing during the pandemic. Over 120,000 people, or 30.3% of the adult population, either already missed or expects to miss the next monthly rent or mortgage payment, a larger share than in all but nine other states.

8. Florida
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 30.8% (total: 3.6 million)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 56.5% (the highest)
> Median household income: $55,462 (14th lowest)
> June unemployment: 10.4% (18th highest)

Most of the states where the largest shares of residents are struggling to afford housing are in the South — and Florida is one of them. More than 3.6 million people in the state, or 30.8% of the adult population, either already missed or have little confidence they can make the next rent or mortgage payment.

Affordable housing rentals are in relatively short supply in Florida. Some 56.5% of renters in Florida are housing-cost burdened — meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on housing — the largest share of any state.

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7. Tennessee
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 31.3% (total: 1.1 million)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 48.7% (19th highest)
> Median household income: $52,375 (10th lowest)
> June unemployment: 9.7% (23rd highest)

In Tennessee, 31.3% of adults cannot afford to make a monthly rent or mortgage payment during the COVID-19 pandemic, a larger share than in most other states. Lower income Americans may be less prepared to weather an economic downturn, like the one brought about by the coronavirus. In Tennessee, the typical household earns $52,375, nearly $10,000 less than the typical American household.

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6. New York
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 32.0% (total: 3.3 million)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 52.0% (7th highest)
> Median household income: $67,844 (14th highest)
> June unemployment: 15.7% (3rd highest)

Nearly 8% of the 43.4 million Americans who either missed a rent or mortgage payment, or will likely soon miss one, during the pandemic live in New York State. New York has more cases of COVID-19 per capita than any other state in the country and efforts to slow the virus’s spread have taken an economic toll. Unemployment stands at 15.7% in New York, well above the 11.1% national jobless rate.

Affordable housing is less common in New York than it is nationally. Some 52.0% of renters in the state are burdened by housing costs, meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on rent, compared to just under half of all renters nationwide. Additionally, the typical home in New York is worth 4.8 times the median income in the state. Nationwide, the typical home is worth just 3.7 times the median annual household income.