Households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing are considered cost-burdened and may not have money for necessary expenses such as food, clothing, or transportation. Cost-burdened households have a lower quality of life and are less equipped to navigate unexpected financial crises. Ensuring that all residents have access to affordable housing creates a more prosperous and equitable Louisville.
Louisville currently ranks 3rd among its peers in rates of severe housing burden with 27.2% of its residents spending 30% or more of their household income on rent or mortgage expenses.
On this metric, Louisville ranks among the top tier of its peers 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 are a group that lags behind its peers on this indicator.
Neighborhoods with high incomes tend to have the lowest percentages of cost-burdened homes: only 12% of Belknap residents in the Highlands and 15% of Eastwood-Long Run residents in East Louisville live in unaffordable housing. Neighborhoods in West Louisville and around the University of Louisville have the highest rates of cost-burdened households. In the California neighborhood, 55% of households are cost-burdened.
Louisville has fewer cost-burdened households compared to the peer mean and the 25th and 75th percentiles. The number of burdened households has been decreasing since 2011. This trend is also reflected in the peer mean and the 25th and 75th percentiles.
Fewer Louisvillians live in cost burdened households compared to the peer city average and both the most and least improved cities The number of Louisville residents living in cost burdened households has been decreasing since 2011. Indianapolis, the least improved city, experienced a smaller decrease in the number of cost burdened households since 2011. Cincinnati is the most improved city, not sitting at the peer city mean. Louisville has fewer cost burdened households than Cincinnati.
In Louisville, and across peer cities, Blacks are more likely to live in cost-burdened households than Whites. In Louisville, 41.4% of Blacks live in cost-burdened households, compared with 24% of Whites in Louisville. For both groups, Louisville lies below the peer city mean with fewer residents in cost-burdened households. The gap between Whites and Blacks in Louisville has only varied slightly since 2000.
Females in Louisville are more likely than males in Louisville to live in cost burdened households. This trend is seen across peer cities. In Louisville, 22.9% of males live in a cost burdened households, while the percentage is 32.7% for females.
For each indicator, Greater Louisville Project assigns cities into one of three groups (high-performing, middle-of-the-pack, and low-performing) based on how they compare to other cities. The assignment is based on how cities naturally cluster on that indicator. Sometimes, the differences between cities are very small, and the difference between a city ranked 5th and 6th could simply be a matter of the sampling error that arises from using survey data. Thus, rather than always make a division that declares the top 5 to be the top tier, we use a natural breaks algorithm to look for a cluster of cities that is outperforming the rest, a cluster that is about average, and a cluster that is lagging. This clustering gives us a better indication of where Louisville is thriving and where Louisville has room to learn from cities that are doing better.
Z-scores (or standardization) is a way to combine data with different units of measurement into a single index. The z-score is a measure of how far away a city (or census tract, etc.) is from the average city. In order to be comparable across different units of measurement, the z-score is the distance from the mean measured in standard deviations (e.g. if Louisville has a z-score of 1 it means Louisville is 1 standard deviation above the mean of its peer cities).
Data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's County Health Rankings use z-scores and all z-scores are relative to the mean of Louisville's peer cities. (On the County Health Rankings site z-scores are relative to all the counties in each state - thus z-scores reported by GLP will be different, because we are using a different reference group). The Greater Louisville Project also uses z-scores in our multidimensional poverty index, which compares each census tract to the mean of all census tracts in Louisville.