Skip to main content

BPC/Morning Consult Poll on Recent Housing Issues

Key Takeaways

The pandemic and its economic impact have made it challenging for many households to pay for housing and related expenses —particularly Black and Hispanic households.

  • Half of respondents (50%) said it has been somewhat or very difficult to pay rent over the past year—with Hispanic respondents (59%) and Black respondents (57%) reporting greater burdens than white respondents (45%).
  • One-third of respondents (35%) said it has been somewhat or very difficult to pay utility bills over the past year—with Hispanic respondents (46%) and Black respondents (49%) reporting greater burdens than white respondents (32%).
  • After income from a job, the most common ways to pay for housing expenses were government benefits such as unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and child tax credit payments (26%); savings (29%); credit cards (21%); and borrowing from friends or family (14%).

Households continue to face housing instability—and have heard little about the resources available to help them.

  • Nearly one in five renters (18%) and one in ten homeowners with a mortgage (9%) are not caught up on their monthly housing payments.
    • These rates are notably higher for Black renters (26%), unvaccinated renters (27%), and Black homeowners (18%).
    • Nearly one out of five renters (19%) have little to no confidence they will be able to pay their next rent on time.
  • A quarter of renters (24%) have applied for emergency rental assistance—9% received it, 9% are waiting for a response, and 6% were denied.
    • A quarter of renters (24%) have applied for emergency rental assistance—9% received it, 9% are waiting for a response, and 6% were denied.
  • 41% of respondents had heard little or nothing about the Supreme Court striking down the CDC’s eviction moratorium.
  • 54% of respondents had heard little or nothing about the nearly $50 billion available to households behind on rent and utility payments.
  • 58% of respondents had heard little or nothing about the nearly $10 billion available to households behind on their mortgages.
  • More than one in ten Hispanic renters (13%), Hispanic homeowners (11%), Black renters (14%), and Black homeowners (12%) said it was very or somewhat likely they would leave home because of an eviction or foreclosure in the next three months.

Even when advanced through a partisan reconciliation process, many proposed housing policies retain broad political support.

    • Respondents in the figure below would somewhat or strongly support including the listed housing provisions in a budget reconciliation bill:

Policymakers from both parties have offered support for removing local land-use and zoning laws that limit the development of new housing—but the public is skeptical.

      • Half of respondents (50%) said they would somewhat or strongly support including incentives to local communities in a reconciliation bill, to remove zoning and land-use restrictions that prevent the development of more housing—while one in five (21%) were not sure.
      • Less than half of respondents (47%) would support changing zoning and land-use restrictions to build more multifamily housing (more than 5 units) near their own homes.
      • Of the arguments in favor of addressing restrictive zoning and land-use laws, 56% of respondents said knowing it would make it easier for people to start families, help them save money, purchase a home, and put down roots in a community would make them more likely to support such changes.

Age, party affiliation, and political ideology shape views on racial disparities in housing—a focus of BPC’s Housing Council—but how and how often such issues are discussed may be important.

    • Half of respondents (52%) somewhat or strongly agreed that “discrimination is a major factor preventing African Americans and other racial/ethnic minorities from accessing safe, affordable housing.”
      • While 74% of Democrats agreed, 63% of Republicans somewhat or strongly disagreed.
      • Respondents from the GenZ (57%) and Millennial (61%) generations were more likely to agree than GenX (51%) and Baby Boomer (46%) respondents.
      • When worded as an issue of “systemic racism” preventing “people of color” from accessing safe, affordable housing, 48% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed, with 73% of Democrats agreeing and 68% of Republicans disagreeing.
    • 59% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed (and 27% somewhat or strongly disagree) that society has a responsibility to help close the racial homeownership gap.
      • Somewhat or strongly agree: 73% of Democrats, 47% of Independents, and 18% of Republicans.
      • Somewhat or strongly disagree: 13% of Democrats, 23% of Independents, and 48% of Republicans.
    • 63% of respondents had heard little or nothing about the White homeownership rate being nearly 30 percentage points higher than Black homeownership.

Survey Parameters

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between September 10, 2021 – September 12, 2021 among a national sample of 2,200 adults.

For questions, or to speak to Executive Director of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy, Dennis Shea, please contact BPC director of media relations Luci Manning.

Share
Read Next
Downloads and Resources
Tags