Which Virginia Renters Are Having the Hardest Time Paying Rent This Summer?
July 13, 2020
The vast majority of renters have been able to make rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. However, some Virginia renters are facing increasing challenges as unemployment remains high and enhanced unemployment benefits come to an end.
According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 360,000 renters in Virginia—or 22.1% of all renters in the Commonwealth—say that they have “no confidence” or only “slight confidence” that they will be able to pay their rent in July. This share, measured at the end of June, is up from 17.7% of renters who said in early June who said they had no or slight confidence in their ability to pay July rent.
Virginia renters who report they will have difficulty paying July rent have somewhat different characteristics than renters who report high confidence in their ability to pay July rent.
- Renters with children are relatively more likely to be facing rent challenges. More than 60% of renters saying they have no or only slight confidence in their ability to pay July rent have children under 18 in the household. By contrast, only about a third (34.0%) of renters who are highly confident in their ability to pay rent have children.
- Lower income renters report more difficulties in paying rent. Nearly 30% of renters saying they have no or slight confidence in their ability to pay rent have incomes below $25,000. Less than 1% of renters reporting challenges with July rent have household incomes of $100,000 or more.
- Hispanic and Asian renters report relatively more rent challenges. Among renters saying they have no or only slight confidence in their ability to pay July rent, 46.3% are White, 22.2% are Black, 11.6% are Asian, and 18.0% are Hispanic. By comparison, renters with high confidence in their ability to pay July rent are much more likely to be White and much less likely to be Hispanic or Asian.
According to data from the Census Bureau’s survey, the primary driver of difficulties in paying rent is job or income loss. Nearly 90% of renters saying they have no or only slight confidence in their ability to pay July rent also say that they or someone in their household has lost their job or seen their income decline.
Renters in Virginia have relied on a variety of income sources to meet spending needs, including using credit cards, loans, savings, and unemployment benefits. However, renters facing rent challenges are much more likely that other renters to borrow money from friends or family members in order to meet expenses. Nearly half (45.7%) of Virginia renters saying they have no or only slight confidence in their ability to pay July rent have borrowed money from friends and/or family. By contrast, less than 5% of renters who are highly confident in their ability to pay rent have borrowed money from friends or family.
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