Nearly 15 percent of U.S. homeowners who had a mortgage on their home in 2007 spent at least half of their income on housing costs, according to an Associated Press report today.

The data, released by the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the number of homeowners included in this category — some 7.5 million — is up from 7.1 million in 2006.

According to the report, the government and many lenders consider homeowners to be financially burdened when they spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs, a definition that now covers approximately 38 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage, or 19 million owners.

An analysis of Census data by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University found that of the top 13 metro areas where the most mortgage holders spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, nearly all were in California and Florida — only one was in Las Vegas.

Greatest share of mortgage holders spending 30%-plus on housing

1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, 58 percent
2. Stockton, Calif., 57 percent
3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., 55 percent
4. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., 55 percent
5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif., 54 percent
6. Modesto, Calif., 54 percent
7. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif., 53 percent
8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., 53 percent
9. Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Fla., 52 percent
10. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif., 52 percent
11. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 51 percent
12. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., 51 percent
13. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif., 50 percent

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