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RESEARCH PRIMER | January, 2020

Strong Foundations: Financial Security Starts with Affordable, Stable Housing


Everyone benefits when families have affordable, stable housing.


● Overview

One in three US households—nearly 100 million people—struggle with housing costs that jeopardize their financial security. The problem is acute for virtually all low-income families and for the 1 in 4 renters who spend 50% or more of their income on housing—and its effects ripple throughout our communities and economy.

In 2019, Aspen EPIC recognized rising housing costs and instability as critical threats to the financial security of American families and created a comprehensive research primer on the topic. Drawing on extensive review of the research literature, engagement with more than 100 experts, and analysis of federal survey data, we have prepared a research brief and primer, “Strong Foundations: Financial security starts with affordable, stable housing.”




Housing is the largest household expense for most Americans. EPIC is taking a hard look at housing affordability and stability to understand the meaning, scope, trends, impacts, manifestations, and drivers of these challenges. Affordability and stability (or lack thereof ) are inextricably related and can have compounding effects, so we are addressing them together as interrelated challenges.

Key Findings:

For more information on housing insecurity and its threat to financial security in America, download the full report and reach out to our staff.


Share on Social:

Today, more than 1 in 3 US households–nearly 100 million people–struggle with housing costs. #AspenEPIC recognized rising #housing costs and instability as critical threats to the #FinancialSecurity of American families. Find it here:

The harmful effects of #housing unaffordability & instability mean that some households suffer more, especially: low-income, renters, single women, single parents, LGBTQ & disabled populations. Learn more from #AspenEPIC’s new research primer

Nearly 1/3 of #rural renter families have incomes below the #poverty level & lack the financial resources to secure stable housing. Learn more about compromised populations from #AspenEPIC

Renters are more than 2x as likely to be cost-burdened. Download and share #AspenEPIC’s new #HousingAffordability report today.

Click here to access these shareable social graphics and posts.

Watch our launch event

America's New Housing Crisis: How rising housing costs and instability undermine financial security

The event features an interview between Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, and Stacey Vanek Smith, Co-Host, NPR’s the Indicator from Planet Money and a panel discussion featuring leaders in housing development, healthcare, and public education who are tackling housing challenges in their communities, followed by a networking reception.


Your input and participation helps ensure that we have a level of dialogue and knowledge synthesis that is thorough and goes beyond usual sound bites.


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EPIC is an initiative of the Aspen Institute's Financial Security Program.

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