These 10 data charts show how bad California’s housing and affordability crises are

Note: some charts are animated. This article was originally published on Sept. 12, 2017; it has been updated with newer information.

Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism venture CALmatters has examined decades of data to analyze how the State’s Capitol and local policies, in combination with the market, have created the housing and affordability crises California faces.

Here are 10 charts that show just how bad it is.

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Rent Rates vs. Renters’ Income

First, let’s begin with renters.

Surely, the old adage that “It may cost more to live here but they pay you better” might be true on some levels—mainly for the privileged who immediately enter high-paying positions—but the fact of the matter is that income has not kept pace with rent costs over the past two decades.

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Home Prices by Decade: National Average vs. State Average (animated)

California isn’t just slightly above the national average for home prices—we are exorbitantly beyond the national average.

“Despite relatively low mortgage rates, exploding housing prices have caused California’s homeownership rate to dip significantly,” said journalist Ben Christopher. “Just over half of California households own their homes—the third lowest rate in the country, and the lowest rate within the state since World War II.”

The only other state with a more expensive median home price? Hawaii.

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Housing Permits Issued vs. Added Population: Top 10 Worst Cities in CA

Yup, Long Beach has 17 people moving here for every one housing permit granted, making it the state’s eighth worst city.

By comparison, our neighbor to the north, Los Angeles, has 2.8 persons per housing unit—one of the lowest in the state.

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Increase in Homelessness vs. Increases in Rent

The chart speaks for itself.

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Affordable Housing Subsidies

Let’s be entirely frank: The dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency was described as a blow to affordable housing and fixing blight—but the reality is that while there should have been a boom in affordable housing construction under the RDA, most of the money was siphoned toward administrative costs.

“Each year, roughly 25 to 40 agencies characterize[d] as planning and administration all or nearly all of the housing set-aside fund money they spend,” the report noted.

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Young Adults Living with Parents by Decade (animated)

No, it is not because the current generation is more lazy, more entitled, or more irresponsible. It’s because the cost of living is so exorbitant, the value of bachelor’s degrees has decreased so significantly while increasing in cost, and the ability to live on one’s own has been diminished due to skyrocketing rents.

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Housing Affects Economy in Total

Yup: When you don’t build enough housing, it hurts every other sector of the economy.

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Affordability Crosses Urban/Rural Divide

I already discussed how the affordability crisis has crossed the urban/rural divide nationally; here are specifics in California’s most rural counties.

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California’s Number of Housing Units by Year

Don’t build it and the cost shall rise.

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Number of Construction Jobs by Year

Because who needs a job anyway?

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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