Median rents exceed affordability in 16 Wisconsin counties

Weekly Fiscal Facts are provided by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. The Wisconsin Public Policy Forum logo can be downloaded here.


Median rents exceed affordability in 16 Wisconsin counties

Based on 2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 16 counties in Wisconsin had gaps between the county’s median renter household income and the county’s median rent. The data represent five-year averages (2012-16) and are the most recent figures available for all Wisconsin counties.

Kenosha County, which had a median rent of $865 in 2016, had the largest gap in the state. The county’s median monthly income among renter households was $93 short of being able to afford the county’s median rent without exceeding the recommended standard of 30 percent of household income. Milwaukee County had a similar gap of $91 per month.

The counties with the largest gaps are scattered across the state. In addition to Kenosha and Milwaukee counties, Adams County in central Wisconsin ($67) and Iron County in northern Wisconsin ($60) had the largest gaps. Eight of the 16 counties with gaps have populations under 50,000, meaning rental affordability challenges are not unique to urban counties.

This information is a service of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education.