Harvard University researchers have come to a conclusion that many Americans likely already know: The rent is indeed too damn high.
For 11 million Americans, half of every paycheck goes to covering the most basic of human needs—paying for a place to live.
A study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard found that not only are 11 million people paying at least half of their money on rent, but more than 21 million Americans give at least 30% of their money to their landlords, reports CNNMoney.
CNN notes that many personal finance experts say you shouldn’t pay more than 30% of your income in rent, but with prices skyrocketing in many places, especially big coastal cities like San Francisco and New York City, that can be an increasingly difficult thing to do. Plus, while rents are going up wages are stagnating or growing much more slowly.
“When you have to dedicate such a high proportion of your income to rent every month, it forces you to make difficult decisions,” said Dan McCue, a researcher at the Harvard Center. That means spending on things like food and clothing have to be cut back, plus many families can’t have a safety net of funds for medical or other emergencies—let alone save to to go on vacation, buy a car, or become homeowners.