- Housing unaffordability in Lexington is impacting workers in service and cultural jobs the most, due to weaker wage growth for low-wage earners than other job sectors.
- This wage growth disparity is even larger for single mothers and households of color that work in these industries.
Why does this matter?
- With rising housing prices and a lack of new home construction, those with stagnant wage growth will, more than likely, feel the housing pinch even more in coming years.
- This will also impact more than just where people live–studies show that housing insecurity has countless impacts on other aspects of the lives of those impacted, including educational attainment, physical and emotional health, and social connectedness.
What is the context?
- The impacts of uneven wage growth and housing insecurity are covered more in czb’s city-commissioned report, but here are some quick takeaways:
- Wage growth for workers in low-paying service industries (like retail, food service, and arts & entertainment) has grown at a much slower pace than higher-paying “professional” sectors (like healthcare, finance, and insurance).
- Between 1998–2011, wage growth for service workers grew by 36%, compared to 60-80% for professional sectors.
- During this same period, there was also a 54% decline in manufacturing jobs, causing industry workers to roll-off to lower-paying service jobs.
- The situation is the worst for lowest-wage earners–those below 30% of Area Median Income. In 2000, 48% of Lexington apartments had monthly rents below $500. By 2012, this had fallen to 17%.
- This disproportionately impacts single-mother households and households of color.
How can I get involved?
- Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about how they feel about issues of housing in Lexington. You can use our toolkit to help guide that conversation.
- Attend your Neighborhood Association meeting. If you don’t know what your neighborhood association is, talk to your council member.
- Get in touch with your council member. You can find out who that is here.
- Contact members of the Affordable Housing Governing Board–you can find out who they are here.
- Show up to an Affordable Housing Governing Board Meeting–they meet quarterly. You can find their schedule here.