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The State of Rural Housing

The State of Rural Housing

Rural America was hit hard by our nation’s recent economic crisis. Nearly 10 percent of all mortgages in rural areas were subprime, with interest rates above 10 percent. This is twice the rate of mortgages in urban areas. At its worst 4 out of every 5 rural communities had mortgage delinquency rates of at least 15 percent; more than 1/3 of rural communities saw foreclosure rates above 8 percent.

Yet, even before the financial crisis, these communities experienced economic distress. Higher poverty and unemployment rates have made it far more likely that a rural family will live in substandard housing or be overburden by rent. Nearly all communities with inadequate drinking water are rural.

Did you know?

  • According to the Economic Research Service, more than 4 million rural families live in “housing poverty.”
  • Rural communities are four times more likely to have at least 20 percent of their population living in poverty.
  • 244 of the 250 “consistently poor counties” in the U.S. are rural; and
  • 15 percent of rural counties are housing stressed. At least 30 percent of housing in these communities is simply too expensive relative to household income, overcrowded, or lack certain basic facilities like a kitchen or bathroom.