Recent Trends in Housing Conditions Among the Urban Poor
In this paper we examine the trends in housing conditions among the urban poor over the last decade, relate these trends to the economic environments of the cities, and compare the poor to other income groups. We find that there has been a substantial decrease in "housing independence" -- among the poor, the percentage of family heads who live with their parents has risen, and the percentage of family heads who are also household heads has fallen. In addition, the incidence of homeownership among the poor has decreased, and the incidence of multiple-family-unit households has increased. These same trends also show up among higher-income families, although they are typically smaller in magnitude. This paper provides little evidence for the popular hypothesis that changes in housing attributes over the last decade are predominantly related to changes in housing markets. Including a variety of economic variables does little to explain the trends in housing circumstances of different income groups.