Percentage of American Renters Jump, Homeowners Fall: Census Data

Renter-occupied homes increased by 14.8%, while the rate of homeownership fell by 2.0%

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Americans are increasingly residing in homes that they rent instead of houses that they own, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday morning.

The data shows that out of 126.8 million occupied homes, 80.1 million, or 63.1%, were owner-occupied.

This represents a two-percentage point drop from 2010, when the homeownership rate stood at 65.1% — the lowest homeownership rate since 1970.

The number of renter-occupied homes surged by 14.8% from 40.7 million in 2010 to 46.8 million in 2020. This growth continued a pattern that was also evident between 2000 and 2010.

Only five states saw an increase in homeownership rates. Hawaii led the pack with the highest percentage-point increase of 1.2, followed by Alaska (0.8), Idaho (0.5), South Carolina (0.4), and Wyoming (0.1).

States boasting the highest homeownership rates included West Virginia and Maine, with rates of 72.6% and 71.1% respectively.

In contrast, the District of Columbia recorded a home ownership rate of 38.3%, lower than all 50 states and Puerto Rico. New York was the next lowest, at 51.3%

Nationally, both homeowner and rental vacancy rates were down from 2010. The homeowner vacancy rate in 2020 stood at 1.5%, down from 2.4% in 2010, while the rental vacancy rate was 7.4% in 2020, a decrease from 9.2% in 2010.

The states witnessing the most significant decreases in homeowner vacancy rates were Nevada (-3.7), Arizona (-2.2), Idaho (-1.9), Georgia (-1.8), and Florida (-1.8).

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