Housing needs in rural areas and native lands

HOUSING NEEDS IN RURAL AREAS AND NATIVE LANDS Households living outside metropolitan areas have their own set of housing challenges. Poverty is widespread, affecting 18 percent of the non-metro population and 29 percent of people living in tribal areas. Indeed, poverty rates across all age and racial/ethnic groups are higher in non-metro than metro areas. In 2013, 41 percent of very low-income homeowners in non- metro areas were severely housing cost burdened, along with 48 percent of very low-income renters.

Substandard housing is a particular problem in these areas. Compared with the typical US unit, housing in non-metro areas is two times more likely to have incomplete plumbing, while housing in tribal tracts is five times more likely to lack this basic function (Figure 37). While manufactured homes can be an important source of affordable housing in non-metro areas, 29 percent of the occupied stock in 2013 was built before HUD set federal design and construction standards in 1976. Of these older homes, 8 percent are categorized as inadequate.

Yet another housing challenge in rural areas is the high concen- tration of older adults, with 17 percent of the non-metro popu- lation age 65 and over compared with 13 percent of the metro population. The supply of accessible housing in these areas is limited, with just under a third having both no-step entries and single-floor living.

Meanwhile, federal housing assistance for non-metro house- holds remains modest. As of 2012, USDA halted new construc- tion of affordable rental housing through Section 515, leaving only the Section 514/516 Farmworker Housing program to finance new units in rural areas. In addition, using the LIHTC

Notes: Low-/middle-/high-income census tracts have median incomes under 80%/80–125%/more than 125% of metro area medians. Data include 117 metro areas with populations of 500,000 or more in 2007. Source: K. Bischoff and S. Reardon, The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation, 2007–2012, Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis, 2016.

Census Tract Type ● Low Income ● Middle Income ● High Income

1970 1980 1990 2000 2012









Income Segregation Has Steadily Increased Over the Last Four Decades Share of Family Households (Percent)





program to expand the supply of affordable rental housing in these areas can be difficult, given that states generally give pri- ority to projects located near public transit and services. Federal assistance for rural homeowners is also increasingly limited, with funding for USDA’s Section 502 direct loan program falling from $34 million in FY2005 to about $28 million in FY2015.

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