Affordable housing has declined in recent decades, yet limited research has examined the demographic and economic changes influencing place-level affordability—especially outside of large metros. In this study I examine the effects of county-level population growth and decline, population aging, and natural amenity development on rates of affordable housing, income, and housing costs across four types of counties. While declines in affordability from 1990 to 2016 were universal between rural and urban counties, population growth is associated with decreases in affordability in rural counties but increased affordability in large metros counties due to estimated decreases in housing costs. Population aging is estimated to improve affordability in large and small metro counties, despite the associated decrease in income and housing costs across all county types. The effects of aging vary greatly between owners and renters. Natural amenity development, despite its theoretical importance, is not associated with changes in affordability for rural counties.
Brooks, M. M. (2022). The Changing Landscape of Affordable Housing in the Rural and Urban United States, 1990–2016*. Rural Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1111/ruso.12427