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Home Energy Cost Burden

A household is considered housing cost-burdened when 30 percent or more of monthly gross income is dedicated to housing. Families whose housing costs exceed this threshold of affordability are likely to struggle to pay for other basic needs – Individuals and families who are housing cost-burdened may drop health care coverage, select less expensive child care, or skip meals to save on costs, which may result in poorer outcomes in other areas of well-being.

Over seven million rural households have housing cost burdens. Renter households are most likely to experience this cost burden, with 47% of rural renters paying over 30% of their income towards rent, compared to 25% of rural homeowners. While renters make up just 28% of all households in rural communities, they make up about 40% of cost burdened rural households.

Energy vulnerability is the gap between “affordable” home energy bills and “actual” home energy bills.

There are models that calculate the dollar amount by which “actual” home energy bills exceeded “affordable” home energy bills on a county-by-county basis for the entire country. This is the “home energy affordability gap.”

CEED is building a model that assesses community-level energy vulnerability that is based on a variety of factors. The goal is to Updated every year since then, the model has become an invaluable tool for research, legislative analysis, program-planning and advocacy.