I had an inkling I never bothered to research until last night. I had often wondered how Asheville’s AMI is around $40,000 when nobody I know – except the trust babies and a couple manufacturing line workers – earns more than $10,000 a year. I’m jaded enough to believe whatever I read in a government paper is superceded by layers of repealers with severance clauses and whatnot, and furthermore that any government site is going to give me a runaround to while away hours for nights on end in thoughtless stupor. So, I went to Wikipedia, and this is what it said:

A household’s income can be calculated various ways but the US Census as of 2009 measured it in the following manner: the income of every resident over the age of 15, including wages and salaries, unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support payments received, regular rental receipts, as well as any personal business, investment, or other kinds of income received routinely.

The residents of the household do not have to be related to the head of the household for their earnings to be considered part of the household’s income.

And thus we see AMI includes government subsidies, and it probably lumps folks like me and my roommate into the same household. We’re perfect strangers who never see each other, but we have to double up on rent. If you combine our incomes and government subsidies, we surely hit the $40,000 mark. Since there are two other dwellings in the same house, we might actually warrant a household income of $120,000. People in our situation, as we are far from being alone, and I have known people who rent space in defiance of zoning codes, surely send a signal to the people who write government reports that the six of us enjoy a household income of $120,000, and that we’re generating local demand for housing for that kind of income.