1 in 5 teachers are burdened by their housing costs

Teachers, who do the invaluable work of educating children yet are paid untenably low salaries, are finding themselves increasingly crunched on housing costs. Nationwide, 19.9% of households where a teacher is the primary earner are burdened by their housing costs.

“Cost-burdened” is a term commonly used to measure financial stability. “The rule of thumb is that you should be spending no more than 30% of your gross income on your housing costs, whether it’s your mortgage or monthly rent,” Chris Salviati, the author of the report, told Ladders. “People spending more than that are considered cost-burdened.”

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According to Apartment List’s estimations from a new study, teachers earn 25.7% less than other college-educated professionals nationwide.

This is a 21.3% higher than the cost-burden rate for households where the primary earner is not a teacher but does have a college degree.

Among primary-earner teachers who rent, the cost burden rate was 28.2% as of 2017, up from 24.5% in 2010. Preschool and kindergarten teachers are worse off than teachers in grade 1-12 classrooms, as they earn less. Preschool and kindergarten teachers who are primary earners have a cost-burden rate of 41.2%, more than double the rate for teachers as a whole.

Out of the 25 largest metros, Miami has the highest cost-burden rate for teachers, at 35%, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
“It’s in these places where teachers are really struggling,” said Salviati. Rents are going up in coastal hubs that may have booming economies but not much new construction, he told Ladders. “If you’ve got a strong local economy, good job growth, then you’re going to have lots of new people moving in.  On the supply side, it’s whether or not developers are building enough new housing to meet that demand. So when there’s a strong labor market but not a lot of new construction, that’s where you see these rents rise.”
Teachers are working more: between 1990 and 2017, the share of teachers who report working more than 50 hours a week increased by 43%.
And the idea that teachers have the entire summer off is more of a myth, Salviati says. “Our research shows that the majority of teachers are working during the summer.” Whether it’s at their primary teaching job or at a different, second job is unclear.
A recent wave of strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, Denver, and Oakland, among other cities, has made the need for better pay for teachers painfully clear.

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