The number the Census Bureau watches for is 30 percent of household income.
Pay more than that on rent and it leaves too little for food, taxes and shoes for the kids. Therefore: stress.
And the data indicates people at middle income levels are feeling it – in Seattle and beyond.
It’s all about huge demand. The bureau’s five-year data shows a wave of higher-income workers coming into Seattle. They became a third of the rental market in 2015. Result: a cascade of rent increases for middle-income homes.
When landlords up the rent, people slash their spending. Or they move, often toward the edge of the region.
Here’s a snapshot from one edge: In Marysville, about 45 minutes north of Seattle without traffic, middle-income renter stress has been rising too. More than three-quarters of renters earning up to $50,000 a year are paying too much.
A recent look at Craigslist indicates that a 2-bedroom duplex in Marysville goes for about $1,500 a month.