Recently released housing data compiled by HUD shows the differing housing needs challenges faced by Connecticut households. While many of the state's households face high housing costs, small non-family households pay the highest share of their income towards housing, especially in communities closest to jobs and transit.
The data makes available household characteristics for 53 of Connecticut's 169 cities and towns. Non-family households, which are generally small households of 1 or more unrelated individuals, face the highest burden of all reported household types: 46% of the state's non-family households face housing costs that exceed 30% of their incomes - a measure of housing cost burden. Broken down by age, just over half of non-family elderly households are cost burdened and 43% of younger non-families face housing cost burdens relative to their incomes. The share of young and old non-family households facing high housing costs are significantly higher than the share of large families (38%), small non-elderly families (34 %), and small elderly families (28%). Non-family households make up a third of the state's households located across the state.
The available data points to geographic variation in housing pressures. Housing burden for non-family elderly is highest in southwestern Connecticut and along the I-91 corridor. For young non-families, housing needs are also acute in towns closest to the state's major job centers of Stamford, New Haven, Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford. The severity of housing problems in these areas points to a shortage of affordable 1- and 2-bedroom units close to jobs and transportation.
It will be crucial in the coming years to understand the changing needs of Connecticut households and to plan housing of the right type and in the right location to address affordability and transportation concerns. Transit has been demonstrated to both lower household transportation costs, but also increase housing value and price. New transit investments such as the New Britain Busway and New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail must be paired with land use policies that promote the development of transit-oriented neighborhoods with housing opportunities of diverse type and price.
The data, which estimates household characteristics by age, income, and housing costs, was assembled using up to five years of samples from the American Community Survey and released by HUD in December 2009.
Housing Affordability for Non-Family Households, Elderly (PDF 2.2MB)
Housing Affordability for Non-Family Households, Non-Elderly (PDF 2.2MB)