Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner documents bad news for those struggling to pay the rent.

More Americans are struggling to pay for housing, even as the economy improves and unemployment falls, according to a new summary of the housing market published Wednesday.

More than one-third of U.S. households, or 39.8 million people, paid enough for housing — more than 30 percent of their incomes — in 2014 to be deemed officially cost “burdened,” the analysis published by the Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies found. And 16.5 percent of households were “severely burdened,” meaning that they paid half their income on housing.

The statistics included in the report suggest that the “crisis” proclaimed by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro is not abating and even got worse as the economic recovery lengthened.

A lack of affordable rentals drove the problem.

The 21.3 million cost-burdened renters set a new record, as did the 11.4 million severely burdened renters.

The vast majority of poor people, meaning those earning less than $15,000 a year, struggled to pay their rent. Nearly three-quarters spent more than 50 percent of their earnings on rent. The problem is widespread across the country, but particularly acute in pricey coastal cities, where problems affording rental housing are extending into the middle class.

In recent decades, families have been spending more on housing. In particular, the share of household budgets dedicated to housing has increased 5.5 percentage points over the past 30 years for low-income families, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.