Bridges

Bridges Winter 2018-2019

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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I N D E X T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K o f S T . L O U I S | C E N T R A L T O A M E R I C A ' S E C O N O M Y W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 - 1 9 Gaps in Broadband Access and Usage: A Rural and Urban CRA Opportunity 5 8 10 Debt-financed Homeownership: Five Observations and 10 Key Questions A N D M O R E > > How's Your County Doing? A New Fed Tool Compares Socioeconomic Trends By Mike Eggleston S econd to generational poverty, the issue hav- ing the greatest negative impact on people with low income is housing affordability, accord- ing to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Outlook Survey. Utilizing the Economic Resilience and Inclusion Navigator (ERIN), a new data tool developed by the St. Louis Fed, we are able to dive deeper into socioeconomic issues, such as housing afford- ability, to determine whether the data confirm or contradict what we are hearing from community and economic development practitioners. e St. Louis Fed's Community Develop- ment team, in collaboration with the Center for Learning Innovation and the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) departments at the St. Louis Fed, developed ERIN to provide insight into trends taking place at the county level for every county in the U.S. We believe this trend analysis and the ability to compare across geographies will allow counties to more effectively gauge how they are doing over time and how their performance compares to that of their peers. ERIN includes 17 socioeconomic indicators, compiled by the St. Louis Fed's team in consultation with both internal and external stakeholders. e indicators were chosen based on the following guiding principles: >> continued on Page 3 Designing for Change: Communities and Capital • data availability; • outcome-oriented indicators (e.g., travel time to work), as opposed to input-oriented indi- cators (e.g., access to public transportation); • relevance to community development prac- titioners; and • actionability – a practical tool to inform policies and programs. e indicators have been organized into three broad domains—economy, household and community. e economy domain refers to indicators related to the health and resilience of an economy. e household domain refers to indicators related to opportunity at the individual or household level. Finally, the com- munity domain refers to indicators related to community health and civic life. Part of the St. Louis Fed's district is southern Illinois. ere are portions of the region where housing affordability varies substantially from one county to another. For instance, in Jackson County (which includes Carbondale), nearly four out of 10 households in 2016 were housing cost-burdened, defined as spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing. Utilizing ERIN, it is clear to see that the housing afford- ability trend in the county has been relatively flat for the last seven years. (See Figure 1.) Percent of households spending 30% or more of their income on housing 42.5 40 37.5 35 32.5 30 27.5 25 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jackson County, Ill. U.S. Median SOURCE: Census Bureau FIGURE 1 Housing Affordability in Jackson County, Ill., versus U.S.

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