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Income Inequality Is Making Rent Even Less Affordable

When inequality goes up, so, too, does the rent burden—especially for the lowest income residents.
A "For Rent" sign is posted outside a residential home in Carlsbad, California.
A "For Rent" sign is posted outside a residential home in Carlsbad, California.Mike Blake/REUTERS

It’s not news that both income inequality and rents have hit record highs, especially in expensive superstar cities and leading tech hubs. But to what extent do income inequality and rising rents go together?

This is the subject of a new study published in the journal Urban Studies. The study analyzes the rise of both income inequality and rental burdens in America’s largest metros, and documents how they work in tandem to hit low-income households the hardest—thus exacerbating the growing gap between America’s geographic clusters of the advantaged and disadvantaged.