Housing Affordability

When housing is affordable—defined as when one’s rent or mortgage is no more than half of one’s income—then fewer people will be forced to choose between a roof over their head and paying for food, health care, or other needs.

The latest national data from the American Community Survey shows that nearly 14% of U.S. households spend at least 50% of their income on housing costs, which include:

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Real estate and personal property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Installment loans, site rent, and registration fees for mobile homes

Sources: U.S. Census Bureay, 2010; American Community Survey, 2013



Access to Healthy Foods

When we think about what it takes to live as healthy as possible, having easy access to nutritious food and fresh produce is key. Unfortunately, in too many areas, affordable, healthy options are limited. We must work to make healthy food access a critical ingredient in everyone’s well-being.

The USDA Food Access Research Atlas identifies counties where 50% or more of the census tracts have low food access, defined as:

  • One or more miles from a supermarket in an urban area; or
  • 10 or more miles from a supermarket in a rural area.

Sources: Economic Research Service; USDA Food Access Research Atlas



Youth Safety

If people feel comfortable and safe in their environment, they are more likely to thrive physically and emotionally. The degree to which young people feel safe getting to and from school is especially important to their health and education.

The Monitoring the Future Survey, supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reports on the behaviors and attitudes of U.S. youth and includes data about secondary school and college students’ feelings of safety. In 2014, the survey found that girls and non-white students were more likely to feel unsafe walking to and from school.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse Monitoring the Future Survey, 2014