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Abstract or Description

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as a household paying no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing. That is, families who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, and transportation. This project focused on Kennebec County, Maine. Between 1990 and 2000, market demand for housing increased at a faster rate than did the supply of housing. Despite the addition of 6,719 homes, the average home price increased faster than average household income. This raises the question of just how many households in Kennebec County are facing unaffordable housing. Using shapefiles and data provided by the US Census Bureau, a map was created with ArcGIS to illustrate the percentage of households, down to the Census Block level of detail, that are paying more than 30 percent of their income to housing. By looking at this information I was able to get a better picture of the housing situation and where in the county households are having the hardest time meeting their needs. The results indicate that households in the more urbanized sections of the county are more likely than rurally located households to be facing unaffordable housing. Namely, Waterville and Augusta held the highest percentage of households paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.

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