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The Impact of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Development on a Local School District  (Part 2)

The number of children per LIHTC household, 1.94, is only slightly greater than the average number of children per household in all renter units, 1.92.  


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 survey sample.

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 circumstances improve.

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.


Table 1

 Household Type Average Related/Own Children Per Unit
LIHTC Sample US Renters US Owners
All Households 1.43    
All Households, Related Children   0.721 0.681
All Households, Own Children   0.661 0.631
All Households, Own Children Under 6 0.66 .271 0.181
All Households, Own Children 6 to 17 0.78 0.391 0.441
Households with Children 1.94 1.921 1.871
All Nonelderly Households na 0.832 0.932
Nonelderly Households with Children na 1.932 1.912

Source: 1 HFC   2 AHS na: not available

Table 2

Unit Size LIHTC Sample AHS Renters
O bedroom (studio) 0.0% 3.2%
1 bedroom 3.4% 28.7%
2 bedroom 54.9% 43.1%
3 bedroom 39.3% 20.3%
4 bedrooms or more 2.4% 4.6%

Back to Part One


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