Missed Housing and Utility Payments Are Common and Persistent in the United States

Prevalence of Missed Housing and Utility Payments by Year


Housing and utility costs consume the majority of monthly incomes for millions of individuals and families in the United States. Missed payments can result in penalties, utility shutoffs, and evictions. Between 14 and 16 percent of the U.S. population experiences utility and/or housing hardship each year, defined as the inability to make full and on-time payments anytime in the past year. Our study found that utility hardship is more common and persistent than housing hardship, which suggests that it is a more durable form of deprivation. Households that experience only utility hardship are notably more disadvantaged than those with only housing hardship. We also found that poor health is the strongest predictor of both hardships.

UC Davis Center for Poverty Research Policy Brief
Kelsey D. Meagher
Kelsey D. Meagher
Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Davis