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 results 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, which can include lack of kitchen facilities, lack of complete plumbing, overcrowding, or severe cost burden (paying more than half of their income towards housing costs). In Louisville, 15.1% of households experience severe housing problems.

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 are a group that lags behind its peers on this indicator.

Trends Over Time

Fewer Louisvillians experience severe housing burden than the peer city average. However, Louisville’s rate of severe housing problems has flattened since 2015, while the rate in peer cities has continued to decrease.

Comparison Between the Most and Least Improved Cities

Since 2000, Grand Rapids is the most improved city, while Indianapolis is the least improved city. While both of those cities and Louisville started in very similar positions, they have taken three very different paths. Louisville’s progress closely mirrored that of Grand Rapids until diverging in 2016.

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.

Differences by Sex

In Louisville and across all 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.