One of the major casualties of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is Section 8 rental assistance, which stands to lose $3 billion. According to data recently analyzed by Trulia, that reduction would hit home—literally—for African-American, urban and young households.
Drawing on data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the analysis reveals that the share of African-American households benefitting from Section 8 housing vouchers is misleading. Why? African-Americans comprise a fraction of the overall population compared to whites (13 percent versus 75 percent)—so even though more whites have vouchers (49 percent versus 41 percent), both groups are not truly represented.
“Though nearly half of voucher holders are white, they make up about 75 percent of the U.S. population, which means they are underrepresented as voucher holders,” writes Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “On the other hand, African-Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, so they are vastly overrepresented as a share of those receiving rental assistance.”
The analysis shows urban households are similarly overrepresented. Forty-four percent of those who benefit from vouchers live in urban areas, but urban households comprise only 28 percent of the population. The ratio flips for suburban households: 31 percent of those with vouchers live in suburban areas, but suburban households comprise 45 percent of the population—an underrepresentation.
Young households, or those under age 35, are also overrepresented, though to a lesser degree. Sixty percent of those who benefit from vouchers are under age 35, but those under age 35 comprise 48 percent of the population.
The overrepresentations suggest that African-American, urban and young households are among the most dependent on Section 8 assistance, as well as among the most vulnerable—and less funding, if approved, would have considerable impact on them.
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