Austin demographic shift linked to housing affordability

Ryan Robinson presents demographic data to City Council during a Jan. 26 work session. Ryan Robinson presents demographic data to City Council during a Jan. 26 work session.[/caption]

Providing family-friendly housing in Central Austin requires more than building homes with multiple bedrooms, according to City Demographer Ryan Robinson.

During a Jan. 26 City Council work session, Robinson presented data to council members that show Austin's families with children are concentrated near the outer edges of the city, a phenomenon Robinson tied to housing affordability.

About 43 percent of Austin families with children live in District 2 in Southeast Austin, according to Robinson, while 11.6 percent of the city's families reside in District 9—the heart of the city. District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool said she is concerned about the decrease of families with children in districts 7 and 9.

"These are the central neighborhoods the city began with," she said.

Robinson pointed to the lack of affordable Austin housing for middle-class families, noting the city has a comparatively high median family income but median-income families can only afford about 40 percent of housing options.

"If you don't have housing for all household types, that's an incomplete community," he said.

District 4 Council Member Greg Casar said he has seen cases in his district of one or two families living in one-bedroom apartments.

"We need family-friendly streets, we need communities that are complete, but [...] affordability is the first threshold," he said.

Austin housing affordability