NewsLocal News / October 9, 2019

Rent Is Rising, But Income Is Not In Marion County



Stagnant incomes mixed with high rent burdens contribute to unstable living situations for many renters in Marion County.

A new report from the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy at the IU Public Policy Institute found that nearly 49 percent of renter households are struggling with rent, compared to 21 percent of homeowners.

Breanca Merritt, the center’s director, says some populations are struggling more than others.

“We saw that among places that had high proportions of white renters that they didn’t face nearly the same levels of rent burn as locations that high proportions of color," says Merritt.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines housing cost burden as paying more than 30 percent of a household income toward rent or a mortgage. Those who pay more than 50 percent are considered severely burdened.

Merritt says the study shows renters in Marion County needs more affordable rental units—in secure living situations.

“Typically where the market costs less that’s not necessarily the best place for people to live, especially people with families and those are the ones who bear the brunt of affordability issues,”  Merritt says.

The report’s other key findings about Marion County include:

  • Renters occupy 46 percent of households, higher than state and national rates.
  • Rent-burdened households tend to be concentrated in specific areas, including Center, Lawrence, Warren, and Wayne townships.
  • From 2012 to 2017, the median household income in Marion County did not change substantially, even though rent increased.

Researchers at CRISP examined data from the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and looked at the relationships between location, incomes, and race. 

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