Report: Nation Short 3.8 Million Housing Units

Housing underproduction in the United States is growing more severe and more widespread.

2 minute read

July 20, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Rental Construction

SounderBruce / Flickr

The Up for Growth Housing Underproduction™ report for 2022 details the state of housing production in the United States, as well as “practical and tangible solutions” for advocates and policymakers.

According to the report, the nation is short 3.79 million housing units as of 2019, up from 1.65 million in 2012. The shortage is also growing more widespread: while 100 metropolitan areas experienced underproduction in 2012, that number was up to 169 metro areas in 2019. “The extent of underproduction varies from state to state: California has the largest deficit of homes at 980,000, while Mississippi is only short 1,000. Only Vermont saw an improvement.”

The factors impacting housing production are varied: “For example, in Detroit, underproduction is driven by uninhabitable units, while in Sacramento, a lack of housing is driving the shortage. In Washington DC, underproduction is fueled by a lack of household formation,” the report notes.

Even before the pandemic, areas that had not previously experienced housing shortages began to see a deficit. As an article by Emily Badger and Eve Washington in the New York Times puts it, “What once seemed a blue-state coastal problem has increasingly become a national one, with consequences for the quality of life of American families, the health of the national economy and the politics of housing construction.”

To help boost housing production, Up for Growth has developed “a policy framework that seeks to create more homes in areas with high economic mobility, access to jobs, and existing infrastructure” they call A Better Foundation. A Better Foundation “optimizes the distribution of these underproduced homes by prioritizing development in high-opportunity neighborhoods—places that are rich in jobs, transportation, infrastructure, and community assets—at a density scaled to fit into the existing neighborhood while increasing housing options.”

One major step is changing outdated zoning laws that don’t allow for flexibility in density and uses, mandate large lot sizes and parking, and prevent the construction of “missing middle” housing. The full report details the housing types recommended for different types of neighborhoods based on their existing density and strategies for improving equity and affordability.

Thursday, July 14, 2022 in Up for Growth

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

5 hours ago - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

6 hours ago - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

7 hours ago - University of Rhode Island

Senior Planner

Heyer Gruel Associates

Regional Transportation Planner

Crater Planning District Commission

Senior Planner- Long range

Prince William County Planning Office

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.