WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – A report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that renter households with the lowest annual incomes spent a larger percentage of their income on rent and other housing costs.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) is made up of data that provides information about a community’s population demographics and housing. According to the report, rents increased nationwide from 2019 to 2021, a reflection of the demand on housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When a household has a gross rent cost ratio of over 30% (where rent and utility costs are 30% of income), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers the household cost burdened. Severely cost-burdened households have cost ratios of over 50%, leaving less money for food, transportation, child care and other necessary living expenses.

As a result, when rent increases, so do the number of cost burdened households.

The report found that 20.1 million renter-occupied households met the over 30% income threshold and were cost burdened in 2021, an increase of about 1 million households since 2019. The number of severely burdened households rose from 9.4 million in 2019 to about 10.4 million in 2021.