|Change in percentage of county residents with severe cost burden for housing in 2010-17|
(Stateline map; click on the image to enlarge it or click here for the interactive version)
Sahuarita, a community of 30,000 near Tucson, added 800 in 2016-17, the largest rise in a decade. And there are plans to build retirement homes in nearby Benson, which has fewer than 5,000 people and lost population every year until gaining 31 residents last year. "The city hopes to mimic the success of rural retirement areas such as The Villages in Florida, a development that contributed to a more than doubling of Fruitland Park’s population to about 10,000," Henderson reports.
Housing prices in rural areas generally increase when more affluent commuters move in, which puts financial pressure on rural families. "Nearly one-fourth of the nation’s most rural counties have seen a sizeable increase this decade in the number of households spending at least half their income on housing, a category the federal government calls 'severely cost-burdened,'" Henderson noted in an earlier story. That's mainly due to local job pressures and lesser federal incentives for affordable housing, but the influx of urban commuters and retirees in some areas has also affected some areas.