The Urban Institute conducted a study which compared rates of material hardship including shelter, foods and medical care among those surveyed. The survey found that renters struggle more than homeowners.

The Survey Results Explained

Housing costs are the major expense for most households, yet the study found as many as one-quarter of those surveyed were not confident of their ability to pay their housing expense. The survey asked participants about falling short or being late on material necessities such as housing, utility bills, medical care due to the cost of the car, and food.

Of those surveyed, renters had a greater likelihood of being late on rental costs, being evicted or forced to move, having their utilities shut off or having to pay a partial utility bill to keep the lights on. Further, renters were more likely to have food insecurities, unmet medical care due to the cost of medical care and having problems paying past medical bills.

Further, one-quarter of the renters in the survey were not confident they could cover a $400.00 emergency and in some high urban areas, the number who struggle with material hardships can be as much as 60% of renters.

Why is the Number of Those Struggling So High?

One factor causing this struggle is the shrinking number of low-income units for a growing number of low-income renters. The supply of these units is not keeping up with the renters who need low-income housing. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of more than 7 million affordable rental units for the lowest income renters in the United States.

An article in the Urban Wire discussed possible solutions for renters struggling with housing costs which include increased funding for rental assistance programs, three of which have been proposed by lawmakers recently; reducing barriers to housing construction and expanding housing assistance. Financing is the major hurdle to developers seeking to build additional affordable housing. Another barrier to increased affordable housing construction is the permit process. Both of these issues are addressed more fully here in an article in

Let Us Help You With Your Daily Life

This latest survey highlights the trade-offs we see every day. Sometimes bankruptcy is a good option to stop the struggle between paying the rent versus large medical bills and other types of debt. If you’re struggling with the cost of living and paying off your debt, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today.

Cynthia Lawson
Written by Cynthia Lawson

Cynthia T. Lawson is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices location in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from East Tennessee State University, and a Juris Doctorate from University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She currently serves as a Mentor for the Moment in bankruptcy.Read her full bio here.

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