In case you missed the chart debate that broke out on Twitter yesterday, here are two highlights.
The first is this chart, shared by Tony Damiano, (allegedly) showing a growing divergence between real wages and rents over the last two decades in the Twin Cities metro:
It’s a chart that looks familiar to me, mirroring some troubling data about declining real wages that has been popping up again and again in the conversation around affordable housing.
The second is a chart that was shared in a string of tweets from Nick Hannula about how Damiano’s chart was misleading.
This tweet is making its way around MSP urbanist twitter, and it is grossly misleading. https://t.co/8LajEBi6H6
— Sauna Insider (@NickHannula) November 28, 2018
Nick’s point was that the wage numbers for Damiano’s analysis are not correct. He writes that “the tweet shows a trend line indicating that median income decreased from 2010 to 2016. This is completely untrue. Median household income (inflation-adjusted) rose from $65,181 to $70,915 over that time period, an increase of 8.8%.”
Instead, Hannula uses a chart that shows percentage of income devoted to rent over time.
Are real wages keeping up with housing costs? If not, by how much, and for whom?
At the very least, for the many people at the bottom end of the wage scale, rising rents and falling wages are a huge problem.
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