Housing Affordability in Whatcom County

Many struggle to afford housing in Whatcom County. While the federal standard suggests 30% of income spent on housing is reasonable, rising costs in other areas like child care and food can make this unrealistic.

This highlights the need for solutions addressing the gap between stagnant housing affordability expectations and rising living costs.

Data Caption: Many residents in Whatcom County are cost-burdened by housing, especially renters. While many homeowners are cost-burdened, their burden is likely to ease over time. While the federal standard suggests spending up to 30% of income on housing, the reality is far harsher:

  • Over half of renters are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing.
  • Over 30% of renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than 50% of their income on housing.

These individuals and families are housing insecure, forced to choose between basic necessities like food, healthcare, and even housing itself. This significant burden, especially impacting renters, highlights the urgent need for solutions to promote housing equity and ensure everyone in our community has access to safe and affordable housing.

Data caption: Experiencing homelessness has a profound impact on both physical and mental health and can create barriers to accessing essential healthcare. As a result, people experiencing homelessness face higher rates of poor health outcomes than people with safe and stable housing.

Data caption: The presence of a stable home can significantly influence the lives of young people. A secure living situation minimizes the stress and distractions linked to housing instability, leading to increased and consistent school attendance. This regular attendance, in turn, promotes better mental and emotional well-being, ultimately contributing to improved academic performance and lifelong success.

Data Caption: Percent of 10th-grade students who report their current living arrangements are the result of losing their home due to family income.

Dashboards were developed in collaboration with the Whatcom County Health and Community Services data team. For even more Whatcom County data, visit www.whatcomhealthinsights.org.