L.A. and N.Y.C. Top List of U.S. Cities with Heaviest Rent Burdens

Downtown Los Angeles



Los Angeles and New York City top the list of U.S. cities with the most poor people laboring under heavy rent burdens, living in substandard housing, or both, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs.

More than half of Los Angeles’ 1 million very poor households, or 567,000, spent more than half their income on rent or resorted to undesirable housing in 2015, according to a department study reported by the Los Angeles Times.

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In New York City, 44 percent of the very poor also struggled to afford housing, but because there were more of them -- 1.8 million -- the number falling into what the study called the "worst-case housing needs" category was higher, 815,000.  More than half of very low-income people in Miami, Phoenix and Riverside also struggled to pay the rent, the study said.

Rising rents have been linked to Los Angeles’ explosive homelessness problem, which grew 23 percent last year, to 58,000 people countywide, officials reported based on a January street and shelter count, according to The Times.

A report earlier this month by real estate firm Zillow found that 2,000 more people would be pushed into homelessness by a 5 percent rent hike -- just over the 4.5 percent jump the company forecasts for L.A. next year. The company said rent increases are closely tied to burgeoning homelessness in cities including Los Angeles, Seattle and New York City, where there is little low- income housing for those priced out of rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

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