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Monday, January 14, 2008

Income

Recently, in doing research on housing costs and accessibility, I ran across the following data regarding income distribution among working families here in Dallas:

--9,386 families (1.71%) in our city are classified as "extremely low income"--meaning they earn below 30% of the Median Family Income (MFI) of the area or less than $19,500.

--72,406 families (13.19%) in Dallas are classified as "very low income"--meaning their earn between 30 and 50% MFI or between $19,500 and $32,500.

--164,946 families (30.05%) in the city are classified as "low income"--meaning they earn between 50 and 80% MFI or between $32,500 and $52,000.

Of course, income levels tell only a small part of the story of this community. When considering quality of life issues, another key consideration involves the concentration of poverty in dense pockets across the inner city. There is no doubt that people would enjoy higher quality lives for themselves and their children if we learned how to create mixed income communities all across the city.

Housing stock in this city has become a huge challenge. By definition, "affordable housing" is housing that costs no more than 30% of a family's income. Far too many Dallasites pay much more than 30% of their income on housing each month. Far too many families are forced to live in sub-standard because such housing is all they can afford. The Dallas Housing Authority reports thousands of people on their waiting lists for both Housing Choice Vouchers and public housing units. The waiting time on these lists averages two years.

Income levels drive housing realities.

Too often here in Dallas, housing realities determine quality of life issues in our neighborhoods.


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2 comments:

jocelyn said...

Larry,
How large is the family unit for these statistics? A family of four? Are these stats published somewhere or did you compile them yourself. I'm asking because I'm a grantwriter in Dallas and I often have a hard time finding up-to-date information about "the state of things" in terms of race, economic status, etc. I've found a few local resources, but I'd love to know where you got this information.

Thanks!

Larry James said...

jocelyn, thanks for the post. These numbers are for a family of 4. You can find this information, and a lot more, at both the Dallas Indicators and Analyze Dallas websites. It's all from census information.