Housing Underproduction occurs when communities fall short of meeting housing need. Up for Growth calculates underproduction as the difference between total housing need and total housing availability.
Four years ago, the nation’s housing affordability problem appeared to be concentrated along the coasts and in the Southwest. Now, the crisis has deepened and is more widespread, affecting urban, suburban, and rural areas and profoundly impacting residents in nearly every state.
Comparison of Regional Drivers of Underproduction
72 markets that had underproduction in 2012 have worsened (23.3% of total)
83 markets that adequately produced in 2012 now have underproduction (26.9%)
75 markets that adequately produced in 2012 are now trending toward underproduction (24.3%)
11 markets that had underproduction in 2012 have reached adequate housing production (3.6%)
14 markets that had underproduction in 2012 are in the process of recovering (4.5%)
54 markets that adequately produced in 2012 have continued to meet or exceed housing needs through 2019 (17.5%)
Racially Restrictive Covenants, Redlining, and Urban Renewal created obstacles that systematically limited access to housing and homeownership for people of color. Despite being outlawed, exclusionary zoning persists and achieves similar outcomes.
Black Homeownership Rates have Barely Risen Since 1970
High housing costs generate a range of adverse outcomes that are most severe for low-income households. It contributes to houselessness and puts homeownership, a key asset-building opportunity, out of reach for renters.
Read: “A housing deficit is driving inflation but higher interest rates may not be enough to tame it” by David M. Dworkin
Percent of Renter Occupied Households that Spend More Than 30% of Gross Income on Housing, 2019
A shortage of housing stock decreases individual access to jobs, limiting personal income growth. Additionally, at the local, state, and federal levels, a persistent housing shortage leaves taxable personal income on the table and increases infrastructure operating and maintenance costs.
Read: Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Housing Underproduction, by Brink Lindsey, J.D. and Daniel Takash
Read: Northwest Arkansas: A Booming Region Addresses Housing Underproduction by J.H. Cullum Clark, Ph.D and Duke McLarty, J.D.
Percent of Operation and Capital Costs Covered by Housing Unit Revenue Contributions
Source: Adapted from Percent of Operations and Capital Costs Covered by Housing Unit Revenue Contributions Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development, Smart Growth America (2013).
Some communities have an abundance of jobs but not enough housing. This increases housing costs, limits economic dynamism, and forces long commutes that increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Read: Urban Walkability in New York Metro Solves Multiple Challenges by Yonah Freemark, Ph.D., Christopher Leinberger and Michael Rodriguez, AICP
Relative vehicle miles traveled per capita in U.S. to the national average by household density bin (dots reflect a minimum of bin ranges)
Up for Growth 2022 Housing Underproduction in the U.S
UFG Dataset Metropolitan State Underproduction
Technical supplement for “Good Climate Policy Is Good Housing Policy,” essay in Up for Growth’s Housing Underproduction in the U.S. report
Technical Memorandum to Up for Growth’s Housing Underproduction in the U.S. report