Low Income Households and Multifamily NW


This week we use Multifamily NW's Apartment Report Spring 2017 to understand some of the housing trends in the Portland Metro. In the article on "Portland: Affordability & Metro Level Displacement" the author suggests millennial doubling up might be a noteworthy factor in the Metro's decline of low income households.

We know that as of 2014, median income has been trending up, as was per capita income. What hasn't been as clear has been the Metro's share of low income households. As Multifamily NW reports, the number of low income households has been declining. However, a closer look shows much more complexity.

The population is aging, increasing the number for low income households as more and seniors find themselves living off of fixed income. Wages are rising. The role of millennials bears notice, since it subverts the economic data. Millennials are living at home longer. When they do move into apartments, they double up more frequently. When they double up, that changes their housing status. They're often not counted a low income household. This is deceptive when looking at the data since doubling up is usually thought of as being under housed, but technically counts as a higher income household. If anything, this illustrates a significant limitation in the data, and the importance in looking to qualitative information before making important policy decisions.