News Release

UnidosUS Rental Housing Report Illustrates Setbacks for Latinos Burdened by Rising Rental Costs

September 27, 2019

Phoenix, AZ—Today, at a forum sponsored by UnidosUS and hosted by Phoenix Affiliate organization Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC), UnidosUS released a new report: Calling it Home: Latino Rental Housing Affordability. The report, the result of a partnership with the University of North Carolina Center for Community Capital, follows earlier UnidosUS research on how Latinos have fared in the home mortgage market and research on housing affordability. The study involved conducting interviews with Latino renter households in seven cities: Phoenix, Arizona; New York City, New York; Washington, DC; Orlando, Florida; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. The in-depth interviews helped provide critical insight on Latinos’ housing choices and experience of affordability in the rental housing market.

Due to the rising cost of homes for purchase, more U.S. households are renting than at any point in the last 50 years. This is especially true for Latinos, who are twice as likely to be renters as Whites. In 2017, 8.4 million, or 52.8 percent of all Latinos, rented their homes, compared to 30.5 percent of all Whites. While the number of rental homes has increased, a growing number of Americans are unable to afford rental housing. In 2017, more than one-quarter of U.S. households spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent. The number is even greater for Latino renters, 55.3 percent of whom are spending more than 30 percent on rent.

“Since, the Great Recession, homeownership opportunities remain out of reach for many Latinos and housing options are becoming limited to those in the rental market. The problem is that rents have become unaffordable across the country. Families paying close to or more than half of their income on rent are making sacrifices to afford and keep their housing. These challenges make it even harder for Latinos to save and build assets, let alone manage everyday expenses,” said Agatha So, Senior Policy Analyst with the Economic Policy Project at UnidosUS.

The report focuses on the experiences of low- and moderate-income Latinos in the rental market. With few exceptions, the Latino renters interviewed for the report were dissatisfied with renting viewing rental payments as ‘throwing money away.’ The majority of renters described making many sacrifices to keep the homes they could afford, especially when few other affordable options existed. Moreover, most of the renters were severely burdened by their rent, and described substantial obstacles to fulfilling their desire to own a home one day.

“The stories of Latino families in this report are a grim reminder of the challenges that many Americans face in today’s housing market. A lack of affordable housing affects Latinos’ economic security, and limits their housing options and opportunities to build assets to share with the next generation. The stories also remind us that action is urgently needed to stabilize circumstances for families who are struggling to afford housing and encourage policies and programs that revive the supply of affordable homes,” continued So.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.