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California's Housing Agencies
The State Must Overhaul Its Approach to Affordable Housing Development to Help Relieve Millions of Californians’ Burdensome Housing Costs

Report Number: 2020-108

More Than 200 California Cities Have Especially Low Affordable Housing Development, and Significant Variation Exists Statewide

Although indications of high need exist in almost every part of California, the amount of affordable housing production varies throughout the State with many neighboring cities producing very different amounts of affordable housing. For example, as shown in the animation below, San Marcos has received Tax Committee funding for about 24 affordable units per 1,000 people. In contrast, the city of Encinitas—an adjacent city with a household population almost two-thirds as large as San Marcos’s—has received funding for less than half of an affordable unit per 1,000 people. The difference between these cities is significant because 60 percent of Encinitas’s lower-income renter households are severely cost-burdened, meaning that these individuals spend at least half of their incomes on rent. This is in contrast to the 35 percent severe cost-burden rate in San Marcos.

Use the interactive graphic below to explore indicators of affordable housing need and production by city and unincorporated county area.

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Source: Analysis of active projects data from the Tax Committee from 1987 through October 2019; 2020 household population data from the Department of Finance; and 2018 overcrowding and vacancy data, 2012 to 2016 cost burden data, and 2019 geographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Definitions: Severe cost-burden rating is based on analysis of lower-income renter households—incomes 80 percent or less of the area median income—that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. Overcrowded housing reflects the amount of housing with more than one person per room, including living rooms and bedrooms, living in a renter household. Unavailability of housing is a rating of the jurisdiction’s amount of available rental housing. We determined the housing development rating by considering the median, average, and distribution of the Tax Committee data.

Notes: For the small number of instances where unincorporated Census Designated Places cross county lines, we counted their information in the unincorporated portion of both counties. Also, some city boundaries may have changed after statistical information was collected.

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