My apartment’s real cost

Hubby and I live in a mid-grade rental apartment in a newly-nice neighborhood very close to downtown D.C. We both walk to work. (Washington, D.C. has one of the highest rates of pedestrian commuters in the country.) We don’t own a car. Most people who don’t live in New York or Los Angeles think we pay a lot for our little space.

But we don’t.

I’ve said it before: it’s worth a premium to live where a car’s more a hindrance than a help. And Treehugger again today “How Affordable is that Subdivision, Really?” makes the point that the cost of housing shouldn’t be divorced from transportation.

The chilling factoid was a bit from a 2003 Brookings study that says that the median household spends 19.1% of its income on transportation and, guessing by the gaspump agita of late, I would easily believe it’s higher today.

Using the Housing+Transportation Affordability Index, you can see what parts of many US metropolitan areas are afforable, as defined by housing and transportation costs being less than 45% of average household income. An advanced option gives a more granular visualization of the data.

Because Hubby and I both work, opted against splashy digs, walk most places and use bus for weekend outings, I estimate I only put out 17% of my income on housing and transportation.

More Americans deserve this option. Remember this the next time you talk up how nice it would be to have more space (if you do this) for storage, or talk down (if you do this) commuter buses or an extension of a transit system.

P.s. I think a good distributed task for Unitarian Universalists is to collect information about which congregations are transit-accessible and how.