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Rents claiming more of household income in Central Pa.

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About half of all renters in Central Pennsylvania are stretching their monthly budgets to cover rent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census data from the 2011-15 American Community Survey shows that the majority of renters in the midstate are spending more than 35 percent of household income to pay the rent.

A common rule of thumb for measuring housing affordability posits that no more than 30 percent of income should go to housing costs.

In Lancaster County, 43 percent of renters are shelling out more than 35 percent of their income to cover rent, the highest share in Central Pennsylvania. The median gross rent is $908 in Lancaster County.

The rest of the midstate didn't fare much better.

In York County, 40.9 percent of renters pay above the 35 percent mark. 

Cumberland and Dauphin counties were at 37.5 percent and 37.9 percent, respectively.

Lebanon County was the lowest with 36.7 percent of renters spending 35 percent or more.

In Pennsylvania, 41.7 percent of renters pay 35 percent or more of their income to cover rent, according to the Census.

The picture is brighter for homeowners.

Only 17.3 percent of Cumberland County homeowners with a mortgage use up 35 percent of their income to cover monthly ownership costs. Ownership costs include the mortgage and other bills, including real estate taxes, insurance and utilities.

In Dauphin County, 19.4 percent of homeowners fall into that category, while in Lebanon County it's 20.9 percent.

Lancaster County was next at 21.9 percent. York County was the highest in the midstate at 22.1 percent, in line with Pennsylvania, which was at 22 percent.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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