Special Report

Missed Housing Payments Are Piling up in Nearly Every State

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5. Arkansas
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 32.3% (total: 471,194)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 45.8% (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $47,062 (3rd lowest)
> June unemployment: 8.0% (18th lowest)

One of only five states in which most households earn less than $48,000, Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the country. Lower income Americans typically spend a larger share of their income and, as a result, are less likely to be able to save and prepare for an economic downturn. During the current recession, a relatively large share of Arkansas residents are struggling to pay their bills. Across the state, more than 470,000 people — 32.3% of the adult population — cannot, or likely will not, be able to afford their monthly rent or mortgage payment, compared to 25.3% of adults nationwide.

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4. Georgia
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 32.6% (total: 1.8 million)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 49.7% (14th highest)
> Median household income: $58,756 (23rd lowest)
> June unemployment: 7.6% (14th lowest)

In Georgia, 32.6% 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. Georgia residents are also less likely than most Americans to be able to afford other essential items, including food. Over the last week, 13.3% of Georgia adults reported being in households where there was not enough to eat compared to 10.8% of American adults nationwide.

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3. Alabama
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 33.6% (total: 831,363)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 47.9% (25th highest)
> Median household income: $49,861 (6th lowest)
> June unemployment: 7.5% (11th lowest)

Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country. Of all households in the state, 9.1% live on less than $10,000 a year. For context, just 6.3% of households nationwide live on so little. Widespread poverty in Alabama partially explains why the state is one of only three nationwide where over one-third of adults missed a monthly rent or mortgage payment, or likely soon will, during the pandemic.

Despite how common financial hardship is in Alabama, state residents are optimistic about their economic future and the future of American business in general. The index of consumer sentiment stands at 99.7 points in Alabama, the highest of any state and well above the 87.4 point index score nationwide.

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2. Louisiana
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 35.1% (total: 752,969)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 55.8% (2nd highest)
> Median household income: $47,905 (5th lowest)
> June unemployment: 9.7% (23rd highest)

Along with nearby Alabama and Mississippi, Louisiana is one of only three states nationwide where more than one-third of adults have either missed a recent rent or mortgage payment, or likely will soon, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread inability to afford basic necessities extends beyond housing in Louisiana. Nearly 18% of adults in the state are in households where there has not always been enough to eat in the last week.

Louisiana has one of the lowest median household incomes of any state and, partially as a result, housing — particularly for renters — can present a considerable financial burden. Across the state, 55.8% of renters spend 30% or more of their annual income on housing, compared to slightly less than 50% or renters nationwide.

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1. Mississippi
> Adults who cannot afford monthly housing costs: 37.1% (total: 447,988)
> Renters who are housing-cost burdened: 50.0% (11th highest)
> Median household income: $44,717 (2nd lowest)
> June unemployment: 8.7% (25th lowest)

Lower income Americans can struggle to pay monthly bills in the best of times, and during economic downturns, financial hardships can be exacerbated. In Mississippi, a staggering 10.6% of households live on less than $10,000 a year. Widespread poverty in the state likely helps explain why so many are struggling to afford basic needs during the pandemic.

Of all adults in Mississippi, 37.1% either missed or will likely soon miss a monthly rent or mortgage payment — the largest figure of any state and well above the 25.3% rate nationwide.