I was in the Bay Area this week for a health technology conference at Stanford University. I took Lyft back and forth from where I was staying. While conversing with one driver in my rudimentary Spanish, I found out that his family was spending $3,000 a month for a two bedroom, one bath home. He was working 16 hour days just to plow a large part of that income towards their rent. I am reading the book Evicted which describes the plight of inner city families to stay in one place. The downstream impact on our urban social infrastructure is staggering.


The American Community Survey collects a statistic on the number of housing units where the occupants spend more than 35% of income on rent. It is GRAPI or Gross Rents as a Percentage of Income. Nationwide, 42% of housing units spent more than 35% on rents, but in counties where the population is greater than 1 million residents, that number can cross 50%. The top ten counties for GRAPI with populations above 1 million residents are shown below. It is unfortunate that the ACS survey ends with a band at 35% because it would not be surprising to me to see homes where 70% or more of income goes towards housing.




We have curated housing data from the American Community Survey into 25 indicators as part of the Population Analysis Interactive including GRAPI. Here at Public Insight, we love to put data to work into creating useful insights. We believe that the power of curated data and business intelligence is extraordinary. We’d love to hear from you and be of help to you and your organization.  

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