Severe Housing Problems

Housing is a critical need for all individuals, and affordable housing is a good indicator of the job market and access to quality jobs within a community. Overcrowding, poor facilities, and homelessness exacerbate the experience of multidimensional poverty and increase risks for disease, depression, and transient housing experience. Ultimately, severe housing problems can lead to homelessness and increased housing vacancies, which can result in an increased economic burden on a community and a decreased quality of life for those affected.

Peer City Perspective

Louisville currently ranks 6th among its peer cities in the percentage of households experiencing severe housing problems.

A household experiences severe housing problems if it has at least one of the following issues: lack of kitchen facilities, lack of complete plumbing, overcrowding, or severe cost burden (paying more than half of their income towards housing costs).

Louisville is in the top tier of its peer group according to a natural breaks algorithm. Cities in green are those that outperform their peers. Cities in yellow represent the middle cluster, and those in red lag behind their peers on this indicator.

Trends over Time

Fewer Louisville residents experience severe housing problems than residents in peer cities, on average. However, Louisville’s rate of severe housing burden has flattened since 2015 (and might even be increasing slightly), while the rate in peer cities has continued to decrease.

Best and Worst Peer Performers

Over the past two decades, Grand Rapids saw its rate of severe housing burden decrease by 1 percentage point, making it the best performer of the group. In contrast, the rate in Indianapolis increased by more than 5 percentage points, making it the worst performer. Louisville performed slightly worse than its peers, on average, increasing its percentage of households experiencing these severe issues by more than 2 percentage points.

Differences by Sex

In Louisville and across its peer cities, female-headed households experience a higher rate of severe housing burden than male-headed households. While the patterns for each group mirrored each other closely for many years, since 2014, the rate of severe housing burden among female-headed households began to increase, while it continued to decrease among male-headed households.

Differences by Race

The rate of severe housing burden among Black households is about twice that of White households in Louisville. Black households have seen somewhat steady improvement on this metric since 2011. Over the past two decades, Hispanic households have seen fairly steady improvement as well. The rate of severe housing burden among Hispanic households now sits at nearly 20%, down from more than 30% in 2000.