Homeownership in the United States

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Ranch style home in Salinas, California

A single family home valued at roughly $550,000 in Salinas, California.

The homeownership rate in the United States[1][2] in 2008 remained similar to that in other post-industrial nations[3] with 67.8% of all occupied housing units being occupied by the unit's owner. Home ownership rates vary depending on demographic characteristics of households such as ethnicity, race, type of household as well as location and type of settlement. Since 1960, the homeownership rate in the United States has remained relatively stable having increased 6.8% since 1960 when 62.1% of American households owned their own home. However, homeowner equity has fallen steadily since WWII and is now less than 50% of the value of homes on average.[4] Homeownership was most common in rural areas and suburbs with three quarters of suburban households being homeowners. Among the country's regions the Midwestern states had the highest homeownership rate with the Western states having the lowest.[2] Homeowners in the United States also tend to have higher incomes and households residing in their own home were more likely to be families (as opposed to individuals) than were their tenant counterparts.[5] Among racial demographics, European Americans had the country's highest homeownership rate, while those identifying as being African American had the lowest homeownership rate.


In the US, the homeownership rate is created through the Housing Vacancy Survey by the US Census Bureau. It is created by dividing the owner occupied units by the total number of occupied units. This is an important point to understand changes in the homeownership rate over time. The bust of the housing bubble resulted in many houses becoming foreclosed. However, the decrease in the homeownership rate from 3Q2007 to 4Q2007 was mostly a result of an increase in the renter's population and less due to a decrease in the homeowner population.

Government policyEdit

Home ownership has been promoted as government policy using several means involving mortgage debt. The existence of the government sponsored entities: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Banks fund or guarantee $6.5 trillion of assets with the purpose of directly or indirectly promoting home ownership. Home ownership has been further promoted through tax policy which allows a tax deduction for mortgage interest payments on a primary residence. The Community Reinvestment Act also encourages home ownership for low-income earners. Because home ownership has been promoted by the government through encouraging mortgage borrowing and lending, this has given rise to debates regarding government policies and the subprime mortgage crisis.


Homweownership by race

Homeownership rate according to race.[6]

US home ownership by race

Homeownership rate by race from 1994 to 2005.[6]

Homeownership rate, as well as the fluctuations within it, varied significantly with race.[6] While homeowners constitutes the majority of White, Asian and Native American households, the homeownership rate for African Americans and those identifying as Hispanic or Latino fell short of the fifty percent threshold. Whites had the highest homeownership rate, followed by Asians and Native Americans. As of 2005, African Americans had once again the lowest homeownership rate in the country. Hispanics had the lowest homeownership rate in the country in ten out of twelve years between 1993 and 2005. Only in 2002 and 2005 did the homeownership rate for Hispanics exceed that of African Americans. Chronicle fluctuations were slight however for all races, commonly not changing more than two percentage points per year. The strongest fluctuation in the percentage of homeowners was among non-White minorities. The homeownership for minorities approached the sixty percent mark in 2005, which was a significant achievement because less than half of all minority households owned homes as recently as 1994. The ownership rate for minorities increased by 24.1%, from 47.7% in 1993 to 59.2% in 2005. The increase among White Americans was less substantial. In 2005, 75.8% of White Americans owned their own homes, compared to 70% in 1993. Thus one can conclude that despite a large remaining discrepancy between the homeownership rates among different racial groups, the gap is closing with ownership rates increasing more substantially for minorities than for Whites.[6]

Race 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 % change since '94
White (non-Hispanic)70.070.971.772.072.673.273.874.374.575.476.075.8+8.28%
Asian American51.350.850.852.852.653.152.853.954.756.359.860.1+17.15%
Native American51.755.851.651.754.356.156.255.454.654.355.658.2+12.57%
African American42.342.744.144.845.646.347.247.747.348.149.148.2+13.59%
Hispanic or Latino41.242.142.843.344.745.546.347.348.246.748.149.5+20.14%

SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2005[6]

Type of householdEdit

File:Homeownership by household type.jpg

There is a strong correlation between a household's family structure, type as well as the age of and homeownership.[7] Overall married couple families, which also have the highest median income of any household type, were most likely to own a home, while female singles, who had the lowest median income of any household type were least likely to own a home. Age played a significant role as well with homeownership increasing with the age of the householder until age when 65, when a slight decrease becomes visible. While only 43% of households with a household under the age of thirty-five owned a home, 81.6% of those with a householder between the ages of 55 and 64 did. This means that households with a middle-aged householder were nearly twice as likely to own a home as those with a young householder. Overall married couple families with a householder age 70 to 74 had the highest homeownership rate with 93.3% being homeowners. The lowest homeownership rate was recorded for single females under the age of twenty-five of whom only 13.6%, were homeowners. Yet, single females had an overall higher homeownership rate than single males and single mothers.[7]


File:Housing and Income.png
Main article: Income in the United States

There are considerable correlations between income, homeownership rate and housing characteristics. As income is closely linked to social status, sociologist Leonard Beeghley has made the hypothesis that "the lower the social class, then the fewer amenities built into housing." According to 2002, US Census Bureau data housing characteristics vary considerably with income. For homeowners with middle-range household incomes, ranging from $40,000 to $60,000, the median home value was $112,000, while the median size was 1,700 square feet (160 m2) and the median year of construction was 1970. A slight majority, 54% of homes occupied by owners in this group had two or more bathrooms. Among homeowners with household incomes in the top 10%, those earning more than $120,000 a year, home values were considerably higher while houses were larger and newer. The median value for homes in this demographic was $256,000 while median square footage was 2,500 and the median year of construction was 1977. The vast majority, 80%, had two or more bathrooms. Overall, houses of those with higher incomes were larger, newer, more expensive with more amenities.[8]


File:Homeownership rate since 1960.jpg
Year Home ownership rate[9]
1960 62.1
1961 62.4
1962 63.0
1963 63.1
1964 63.1
1965 63.3
1966 63.4
1967 63.6
1968 63.9
1969 64.3
1970 64.2
1971 64.2
1972 64.4
1973 64.5
1974 64.6
1975 64.6
1976 64.7
1977 64.8
1978 65.0
1979 65.6
1980 65.6
1981 65.4
1982 64.8
1983 64.6
1984 64.5
1985 63.9
1986 63.8
1987 64.0
1988 63.8
1989 63.9
1990 63.9
1991 64.1
1992 64.1
1993 64.0
1994 64.0
1995 64.7
1996 65.4
1997 65.7
1998 66.3
1999 66.8
2000 67.4
2001 67.8
2002 67.9
2003 68.3
2004 69.0
2005 68.9
2006 68.8
2007 68.1
2008 67.8

International ComparisonEdit

Country Austria Belgium Denmark France Germany Ireland Norway Spain Portugal UK US Slovenia Israel Canada
Home ownership rate[3]56%71%51%55%42%77%77%85%64%69%68%82%71%67%

See also a list of countries by home ownership rate.

See alsoEdit


  1. "US Census Bureau, Homeownership by Area". Retrieved 2010-1-06. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "US Census Bureau, Homeownership in the United States, 1960-2004". Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "EU homeownership rates, 2002". Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  4. Federal Reserve report shows homeowner equity dipping below 50 percent, lowest on record,, URL accessed 28 December 2008
  5. "US Census Bureau, distribution of homeowners among the income quitniles". Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "US Census Bureau, homeownership by race". Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "US Census Bureau, homeownership according to age and type of household". Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  8. Beeghley, Leonard (2004). The Structure of Social Stratification in the United States. Boston, MA: Pearson. 
  9. "US Census Bureau, homeownership rate since 1960". Retrieved 2007-05-15. 

External linksEdit

Template:Life in the United States Template:Demographics of the United States Template:United States topics

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