Charted: How Housing Policy Impacts Inequality – Next City

Charted: How Housing Policy Impacts Inequality

(Photo by Charleston’s TheDigitel)

Regularly, we see headlines about increasingly unaffordable rents and a growing population of cost-burdened Americans in U.S. cities. With the 2016 presidential election season ramping up, talk of tax breaks and the minimum wage is now frequently in the mix too. More rare is the straightforward explaining of how specific policies connect to how American thrive — or struggle to survive — each day.

Enter the Urban Institute. Based on work by Gregory Acs and Paul Johnson that looked at how housing and tax policies — think federal housing assistance, the mortgage interest deduction — impact income inequality, the Institute charted the correlation.

According to the researchers, their data show that housing subsidies reduce income inequality, while the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions increase it. It also shows that benefits for low-income households create equality while benefits targeted at high-income households create a wider disparity. (For more, see Alexis Stephens’ article for Next City, “How the Rich Benefit From Handouts More Than the Poor.”)

Gallery: Housing Inequality

For the original visualization, visit here.

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: jobsaffordable housingincome inequalitypovertyhud