In order to compare these figures with national
rental averages, we examined two recent reports produced by the US Census Bureau: the 1993
American Housing Survey (H150/93) (referenced in this summary ans the tables below
as AHS ) and Household and Family Characteristics: March 1995 (P20-488)
(referenced in this summary and the tables below as HFC).
The first point of comparison is the number of children per unit. Table
1 compares the number of children per unit nationwide for owners, renters, and the LIHTC
The most important of these numbers is the number of children per
household in households with children. The LIHTC Survey households with children averaged
1.94 children per family. This number is only slightly higher than the 1.92 per family for
all rental units. This clearly indicates that families with children attracted to LIHTC
housing are approximately the same size as families with
children in existing rental housing.
This is particularly important for multifamily
conversions. It appears to indicate that an existing rental unit converted to LIHTC
operation will continue to attract families of the same size after conversion.
When comparing the number of children by age group, it is clear that
households in owner-occupied units have a significantly higher ratio of school aged
children to preschool children than either the LIHTC survey population or the renter
population as a whole. While 54.2% of the children in the LIHTC units were school aged,
this increases to 59.1% for the rental population as a whole and 71.0% for owner-occupied
households. It is possible that LIHTC units have a greater relative impact on the area's
preschools and day cares than on the area's school enrollment.
Another important factor to consider when assessing the number of
children per unit is the high percentage of two- and three-bedroom units in the LIHTC
sample compared to the overall rental population. Table 2 illustrates a distribution of
the LIHTC sample by bedroom size compared to the 1993 American Housing Survey:
As Table 2 indicates, the LIHTC sample is clearly skewed toward larger
units, which by their nature are much more likely to contain larger households, including
households with children. Relatively, the LIHTC sample contains almost twice as many
three-bedroom units as the AHS sample.
In addition, the LIHTC sample has few one-bedroom units, which tend to
contain very few children and would bring down the average number of children per unit.
Out of 116 one-bedroom units in the LIHTC sample there are 15 children, or 0.13 child per
unit. A total of 10 of these 15 children (66.7%) are preschoolers.
It is likely that the high average number of children per unit for the
LIHTC sample compared to the overall renter sample is a direct result of the high number
of larger units in the sample. Until we can identify the average number of children per
unit by unit type for all rental developments, there is no way to determine
definitively whether households cluster in LIHTC units at a greater rate than other types
of rental housing.
It is also critical to remember that the number
of children per LIHTC unit is an average. Our figures indicated that the average number of
children per unit by development ranged from 0.42 to 2.04 children per unit. The
development which averaged 0.42 child per development contained the majority of
one-bedroom units within the LIHTC sample. The next lowest number of children per unit is
0.72, in a community with a higher level of larger units.
Although there is a higher number of children per
unit in LIHTC units than in rental development as a whole, we are unable at this point to
determine whether this is a result of the nature of the LIHTC program itself or the
tendency for LIHTC developments to contain a relatively higher number of lager units than
market-rate developments. Further research is being conducted to clarify this issue.
It is clear, however, that the LIHTC households
have a significantly higher ratio of preschool children to school age children than the
rental population as a whole. The nature of LIHTC units as "starter housing"
likely makes it a popular choice for younger families. These younger families with small
children appear likely to move into housing with more space, perhaps purchasing a
single-family home, as their children age and need more space and their financial
Based on our survey of LIHTC units, it is clear that households with
children in LIHTC units have approximately the same number of children as households in
other housing types.