Housing subsidies reduce inequality, but mortgage tax breaks make it worse

housing subsidies

Housing subsidiesBy Emily Badger | The Washington Post

The primary purpose of housing subsidies is, well, to house people. But by doing so, they serve another end: They effectively boost the incomes of many poor Americans, narrowing inequality.

A new Urban Institute analysis quantifies exactly how much housing aid affects inequality. Gregory Acs and Paul Johnson looked at the post-tax, post-transfer incomes of American households (adjusted for household size). If you take housing policy out of that picture, households at the 90th percentile have about 9.4 times as much income as those at the 10th percentile. Add in housing subsidies — which cost the government about $36 billion in 2012 — and that ratio falls to 8.6.

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