CivicLex Info Hub

Who is directly impacted by unaffordable housing?

Sectors: Development & Housing, Economic & Workforce Development, Community Design

Council Districts: All of Lexington

Issue Sections

Quick Summary

  • Housing unaffordability in Lexington is impacting workers in service and cultural jobs the most, due to weaker wage growth for low-wage earners than other job sectors.
  • This wage growth disparity is even larger for single mothers and households of color that work in these industries.

Why does this matter?

What is the context?

  • The impacts of uneven wage growth and housing insecurity are covered more in czb’s city-commissioned report, but here are some quick takeaways:
    • Wage growth for workers in low-paying service industries (like retail, food service, and arts & entertainment) has grown at a much slower pace than higher-paying “professional” sectors (like healthcare, finance, and insurance).
    • Between 1998–2011, wage growth for service workers grew by 36%, compared to 60-80% for professional sectors.
    • During this same period, there was also a 54% decline in manufacturing jobs, causing industry workers to roll-off to lower-paying service jobs.
    • The situation is the worst for lowest-wage earners–those below 30% of Area Median Income. In 2000, 48% of Lexington apartments had monthly rents below $500. By 2012, this had fallen to 17%.
    • This disproportionately impacts single-mother households and households of color.

How can I get involved?


  1. czb. Lexington’s Affordable Housing Challenge & Potential Strategy. February 2014.
  2. Commonwealth Economics. Lexington/Fayette Affordable Housing Trust Fund Fiscal, Economic and Social Impact Study. February 2010.