Detroit Evening Report: Many Michiganders spending too much on rent, U-M study finds

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Houses in Detroit's Live6 neighborhood.

Houses in Detroit's Live6 neighborhood.

A quarter of renters in Michigan are spending more than 50% of their total income on rent, according to a new report from the University of Michigan.

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The “2024 Michigan Statewide Housing Needs Assessment” delves into a decade of data around the complexities of housing availability, affordability and accessibility. Many of the reports’ findings highlight significant racial disparities in the state, including a stark 34-point gap in home ownership that has 79% of white households owning their home compared to just 45% of Black households.

The report also found that renters are often low-income residents across the state who are simultaneously burdened the most with high housing costs.

Roshanak Mehdipanah, a professor at U-M’s School of Public Health, says residents should not be spending more than 30% of their total income on rent or mortgage, and that the focus on housing affordability needs to expand beyond just housing prices.

“But at the same time also insuring that folks are able to maintain a lifestyle where they’re not choosing between rent, food, or medication, for example,” Mehdipanah said.

The report is divided into four sections: housing inventory, housing demand, housing affordability, and housing instability and homelessness. Each section weaves in eight priority areas: equity and racial justice, housing ecosystem, preventing and ending homelessness, housing stock, older adult housing, rental housing, homeownership and communication and education.

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.
  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.