H+T Affordability

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 48.5%
Current (2019): 44.3%

Theme Distinctive


Proportion of median household income spent on housing and transportation costs

Why is it Important?

Housing and transportation (H+T) are the largest household expenditures for most households. Reducing H+T costs makes it easier for families to meet their basic needs and creates more disposable income. H+T Affordability is also an indicator of how well the region has planned development to meet the needs of residents. Improvement on this indicator could mean the region has developed in a way that makes it possible for more people to live in location efficient places – places where they can easily access work, shopping, recreation, and education.1

How are we Doing?

According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), H+T costs over 45 percent are considered unaffordable.2 In the St. Louis region, in 2019, average housing plus transportation costs are about 44.3 percent of the median household income, which is right below the affordability threshold. The region is moving in the right direction on this indicator. For, 2010, the average housing plus transportation costs in St. Louis were 48.5 percent of the median household income.3

This change in the affordability of the region is the result of multiple factors. Generally, from 2010 to 2019, housing and transportation costs both decreased (when adjusted for inflation). Further, the proportion of households that are renting, versus owning, increased. On average, renting has lower associated housing costs, however average costs for housing for renters has increased over the past 10 years.

For comparison purposes, the Where We Stand table uses data provided by CNT.4 The St. Louis MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) ranks 28th, tying with several regions, with a household at the median income level paying 51 percent of income on housing and transportation for the time period 2011-2015. The region continues to be considered relatively affordable, ranking just below the peer region average of 51.4 percent.  

Geographic Level

St. Louis eight-county bi-state region, including Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties and the city of St. Louis in Missouri and Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois. View map.


1This indicator is a HUD Flagship Sustainability Indicator. The Flagship Indicators were created for the Sustainable Community Initiative in an effort to develop a common national framework for measuring long-term progress toward sustainable communities.

2Center for Neighborhood Technology, About the Index, accessed on 7 July 2016 at http://htaindex.cnt.org/about/.

3 The vehicle miles traveled data are not available for 2019. Estimates for 2018 are used for the calculation of this metric.

4East-West Gateway uses local data to calculate the metrics for OneSTL. CNT uses a different method as well as data available for communities across the country. 


Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, LEHD, AAA Your Driving Costs Brochure, National Transit Database, East-West Gateway Council of Governments