Insights

Half of IL Renters, One-Third of Owners Unable to Afford Their Housing

IL median rents up $200 and mortgages up $500, while income remains flat and wealth gap grows Tweet This

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As incomes remain stagnant or decline across Illinois, rising housing costs have resulted in record levels of housing insecurity—with 1 out of 2 renters and 1 out of 3 owners unable to afford their housing.

This trend emerges from analysis by the Chicago Rehab Network, a coalition of neighborhood and community development organizations, which released its Affordable Housing Fact Book compiling affordable housing data from across the state. Among the key findings:

  • Illinois ranks #8 in the nation for income inequality. With 76 out of 102 Illinois counties losing median household income between 2000 and 2010, today the income of the top 1% is thirty times that of the bottom 99%.
  • Median rents rose for the vast majority of residents. In 92 out of 102 counties, median rent increased, with a statewide median increase of over $200 per month.
  • Median mortgages grew even more, increasing in 100 out of 102 Illinois counties. Statewide, the median mortgage increased by over $500 per month.
  • From 2000 to 2010, housing insecurity increased in the majority of counties for both renters (92 out of 102 counties) and owners (98 out of 102 counties). Households paying more than 30% of available income for housing are described as “cost burdened” or experiencing “housing insecurity.” Steep increases in housing insecurity across the board have brought statewide rates to record levels: 1 out of 2 renters and 1 out of 3 owners in Illinois cannot afford their housing.


Through its funding for affordable housing, The Chicago Community Trust seeks to ensure that every resident has a safe and secure place to call home. Beyond the threat of homelessness, housing insecurity has ripple effects that continue to undermine families’ financial wellbeing—from accessing health care and purchasing healthy food, to paying off debt and saving for retirement. Families burdened with housing costs are also more likely to move frequently, which can disrupt education and job security; and are less likely to make consumer purchases that help grow the local economy.

Supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust, the Fact Book provides an important tool for educating elected officials and other key stakeholders on the realities facing many families and individuals. With the publication of this third edition, Chicago Rehab Network executive director Kevin F. Jackson was invited to present the Fact Book and provide testimony to the Illinois House Committee on Economic Development and Housing.

As demand for more affordable housing grows, Chicago Rehab Network continues to highlight the need for ongoing advocacy for programs, policies and resources to support the housing and community development needs of communities throughout Illinois.