Report: Housing Affordability A Challenge For Teachers In Raleigh, Charlotte

Apr 24, 2017

A new report ranks Raleigh and Charlotte 22nd and 30th, respectively, among 50 U.S. cities in terms of housing affordability for teachers.
Credit Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A new report ranks Raleigh 22nd among 50 U.S. cities in terms of housing affordability for teachers. Charlotte ranked 30th. The analysis compared average rent in each city to local teacher salaries.

Sydney Bennet, of the website Apartment List, wrote the analysis. She said the data show Charlotte teachers -- from the inexperienced to the experienced -- earn less than their Raleigh counterparts, yet they have to spend more on rent.

“For me, the numbers really illustrated the fact that, if you're a teacher and you're hoping to move into a bigger place or start a family, that that can be really difficult in a lot of cities across the country,” Bennet said.

Depending on experience, a Raleigh teacher could spend between 16 and 24 percent of his or her salary on monthly rent, according to the report. A Charlotte teacher could spend between 18 and 28 percent.

North Carolina has struggled with teacher retention and shortages in recent years. The state ranks 41st in the country for teacher pay, according to National Education Association estimates.

According to the housing affordability report, teachers in big, coastal cities like San Francisco or New York spent more on housing, but Bennet said there is a lack of rent affordability for teachers in mid-size cities, too.
 
“It's a very hard job, and something you have to be really committed to,” Bennet said. “And so, I think that if you're really committed, but you just can't afford the lifestyle you'd like, there's a lot of people who either move to cheaper areas, or may leave the profession entirely.”