THE BIG PICTURE

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FYI: More than 14 million households nationwide spend more than half of their income on housing costs, according to the Joint Center of Housing Studies’ annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report. The report is largely positive about the housing sector, citing it as one of the national economy’s few bright spots. But meanwhile, the report warns, low- and moderate-income households are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a place to live. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of those households spending more than half their income on housing ballooned by over 700,000. Meanwhile, only 34 percent of renters in the bottom fifth of the national income distribution were getting housing assistance in 2002. [6/18/03]