Can Low-Skilled Workers Afford To Live Near Their Jobs? A Brookings Report Investigates.

by Shilpi Paul


Are low-skilled workers able to live close to low-skill jobs in the DC area? Can a household with one medium-skilled worker afford a home close to public transit?

A new report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, “Connecting to Opportunity,” attempts to answer these questions. The report analyzes the location of jobs at various income levels, housing at various affordability levels and transit connectedness in the area.


Here are a few of the key, albeit not surprising, findings:

Well-connected areas are often too expensive for low- and mid-skill workers.

Areas with easy access to public transit are pricier than those without, as we’ve written about before, and the study found that many workers are priced out. They may be forced to live in areas that do not provide the best access to jobs.

From the study:

Households with one low-skill worker could not afford the median rent in any area within the region. Households with two low-skill workers could afford housing in some parts of the District, all neighborhoods in Prince George’s County and Prince William, as well as rural Montgomery County, Frederick County, and Fairfax County’s I-95 corridor. However, these affordable neighborhoods may not provide the best access to jobs via transit. Households supported by one mid-skill worker could afford housing in three areas: the Suitland area of Prince George’s County and east of the Anacostia River or the Northeast neighborhoods of the District. All of these areas are PUMAs with high numbers of transit accessible jobs.

While high-skill jobs are accessible, low- and mid-skill jobs are more dispersed.

Many “good match” jobs for low- and mid-skill workers are located away from the core. They can be found in Prince George’s County and the outer suburbs, said the study, though about 260,000 can be found in the District (out of 660,384 total jobs).

Transit is best at connecting high-skill residents to high-skill jobs.

From the study:

High-skilled District residents can reach 72 percent of all good match jobs in the region via transit in 90 minutes, while mid-skilled District residents can reach 64 percent of all good match jobs in the region in the same time period, and low-skilled District residents can reach 62 percent.

Brookings tacked on a few recommendations, such as encouraging the city to support affordable housing in transit-accessible neighborhoods.

For the full report, check out Brookings.

See other articles related to: transit, brookings institution, affordability

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/can_low-skilled_workers_afford_to_live_near_their_jobs_a_brookings_report_i/6284

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