Fancy Harvard study determines rent just a wee bit too high

jimmy mcmillan

He was right all along, and he didn’t even need to go to Harvard

Nobody likes paying rent, except for maybe those weird kids you went to school with who’d remind the teacher about homework. But at least we can rest easy knowing that the rent we’re paying isn’t slowly sending us to the poorhouse because it hasn’t massively shot upwards while our wages have gone down just as quickly. Wait, what’s that? A fancy Harvard study, America’s Rental Housing, found that that’s the exact thing that’s happening? It’s almost like capitalism is a heartless endeavor that only favors the rich or something.

So yeah, the eggheads at Harvard took a look at income and rent trends between 1986 and 2012, and to no one’s surprise at all, while the median rent in the US has gone up to over $855/month, the median wage in America has dropped to less than $33,000 per year. The bottom really dropped out around 2007, when you might remember the entire world economy imploding, and while Wall Street has recovered nicely, the rest of us brain dead slobs haven’t.

harvard rent study chart

Your doom, in chart form!

Even worse though, more than half of all renters in America, 21.1 million households, are rent-burdened, which is the official term for paying more than 30 percent of your income for rent. You might know it unofficially as “Goddamn I’m broke as hell.” That’s the most ever in recorded history, so at least we’re living in very historical times! Of course, you can also consider yourself lucky if you don’t find yourself part of the population of America’s renter population making less than $15,000 but paying more than half their income in rent. Although with over 80% of America’s low income population being in that basket, you just might be. So anyway, let’s all drunk until our hearts stop.

[h/t Business Week]