Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Corrections: What we got wrong in “Paycheck to Paycheck 2016” and how we made it right

by Janet Viveiros, National Housing Conference

Since the September 14th release of “Paycheck to Paycheck 2016” and the online data tool, NHC has discovered that final checks of the data were insufficient to detect several errors. Upon further review of the analysis, NHC discovered miscalculations in the online tool and report.

NHC has since corrected the data in both the report and online tool. The miscalculations in “Paycheck to Paycheck” included an error in the fair market rent for the Greenville, S.C., metro area, the home price for the Charlotte, N.C., metro area and the number of metro areas with home prices that are unaffordable to households earning the area median income.

The data corrections revealed that NHC had underestimated the housing affordability challenges of households across the country who earn the area median income and what to purchase a home. For households earning the area median income, 92 metro areas have home prices they cannot afford instead of the 73 originally discovered. The changes also showed that fewer metro areas (9 instead of 10) have rents affordable to child care teachers. In addition, the original report also undervalued the share of a bus driver’s paycheck that is consumed by fair market rent for a two bedroom home in Greenville, S.C. (39 percent instead of 32 percent). “Paycheck to Paycheck 2016” now lists the corrected information.

In the online Paycheck to Paycheck data tool, the data errors resulted in some metro areas and occupations not being expressed in graphs or containing incorrect data. The online tool has been modified and all the graphs are now available and show correct calculations. If you have previously used the online data tool, please re-run the graphs as some of have changed since the data were corrected. If you have questions regarding the changes to “Paycheck to Paycheck” and the online tool, please contact Janet Viveiros at jviveiros@nhc.org.

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