DURHAM — Compared to state averages, the town has more households with occupants over the age of 60 and fewer households with school-age children.
This and other town data were presented by the Sustainable Durham member Kimberly Fisher, during a Board of Selectman meeting this week.
“Understanding who lives in our towns provides insight into the housing and service needs for each community such as accessibility, transportation, child care, and education,” said Fisher.
Fisher stated that out of the 2,694 total units in town, only 64 are considered to be affordable, which equates to about two percent.
“In the foreseeable future we need to provide new housing choices for our aging population,” said Fisher during the Monday meeting. “We need smaller, denser, more affordable homes with services.”
About 7,248 people reside in Durham. Roughly 18 percent of householders live alone. Sixty percent live with someone over the age of 60 and 29 percent live with someone under the age of 18.
Twenty-four percent of Durham households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
The hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Durham is $23.65. By comparison, a two-bedroom apartment in Hartford would require earnings of at least $26.42 per hour.
Although the state is becoming increasingly diverse, according to Fisher, only four percent of Durham's population consists of black, Indigenous, and people of color while the remaining 96 percent of the population is white.
Board of Selectmen members all highlighted the importance of a diverse community.
"There is no other way to build a stronger community than to make it more diverse. Racial, religious, but also socioeconomic diversity," said Selectman John Szewczyk. "Diversifying our community makes stronger schools, it makes stronger government, it makes stronger everything.”
First Selectman Laura Francis also pointed out that the data will be useful to the town officials as they continue to work on the affordable housing plan.
All data sources for the Durham housing profile was released by the Partnership for Strong Communities nonprofit. Profiles are available for every town and county in the state. To learn more, please visit pschousing.org or housingprofiles.pschousing.org