Housing Costs and Economic Hardship for Low-Income Families

Personal Finance, Military Families February 06, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF


Mimura, Y. (2008). Housing cost burden, poverty status, and economic hardship among low-income families. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29(1), 152-165.

Brief Description: Poverty status better explains the economic hardship of low-income families than does the housing cost burden. However, poverty status explains the economic hardship of White and Black low-income families with children differently. It appears that poverty status can explain variation in hardship among White families better than among Black families. This presents further economic disadvantage for the Black families.

Implications: The economic hardship that families experience is more complex than their poverty status. Although families have somewhat more control over their housing costs than over their official poverty status, the findings provide insights into appropriate policies to help disadvantaged Black families regardless of their poverty status. If the mechanisms of increasing and decreasing the hardship scores are better understood, policymakers may be more likely to target the right people for effective public policies and public assistance programs.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.