Housing affordability challenges have reached critical levels throughout Austin, with striking disparities in income, cost of living and available housing among Austin’s 10 city council districts according to the City Council Housing Jobs District Analysis released by HousingWorks Austin.
Mandy De Mayo, Executive Director for HousingWorks Austin, explained, “Austin has become one of the most economically segregated cities in the nation, and the disparities in housing affordability and income among Austin’s 10 city council districts are staggering. Austin’s growing housing crisis is pushing working families out of their neighborhoods, exacerbating the strain on our region’s infrastructure and lowering enrollment levels in Austin schools.”
The analysis, which aggregated multiple data sources to provide a complete picture of jobs and housing conditions in each of Austin’s 10 city council districts, found that Austin housing costs are increasing while incomes have remained relatively flat. In some districts, the entire monthly income for one in five workers is equivalent to the average monthly rent for that district, while less than half of workers have sufficient income for the average rent to be considered within an affordable range.
In addition to housing affordability challenges, the analysis also highlights disparities in income, workforce ages and earnings, education, unemployment, subsidized housing and access to public transportation. Key highlights included:
- Districts 3 and 4 have the highest rates of unemployed and uninsured. District 3 has a 10 percent unemployment rate, while nearly 40 percent of District 4 residents do not have health insurance.
- District 5 has a large number of workers with limited educational attainment. Forty-three percent of the workforce in District 5 has a high school degree or less. This is the highest percentage among all 10 city council districts.
- District 9 has the highest number of low-wage jobs. Encompassing downtown Austin, District 9 has the highest number of low-wage jobs (25,960 jobs earning $1,250/month or less, essentially minimum wage) yet also has the highest average rent ($1,520/month) in the entire city.
- Districts 6, 8, and 10 have a large number of low- and moderate-wage jobs but the least amount of affordable housing units. Combined, these three districts are home to only three percent of Austin’s subsidized housing units. There are 21,753 low-wage jobs in these three districts, yet only 595 subsidized housing units.
Emily Chenevert, board member for HousingWorks Austin and Director of Operations for the Austin Board of REALTORS®, added, “As this analysis shows, broad-brush solutions are not going to be effective. Our city needs development policies that are inclusive to the unique needs and challenges of each district, that preserve each district’s existing housing stock and allow for infill and density where it is needed most.”
De Mayo concluded, “Austin will not become affordable again until every city council district has a wide range of housing types and price points that all residents can afford. HousingWorks Austin continues to advocate for bold and creative solutions to bring lasting housing affordability to our communities, such as public-private partnerships, sustainable funding and resources, density bonus programs and a revised land development code.”