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2010 Census Shows Second Highest Homeownership Rate on Record Despite Largest Decrease since 1940

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a 2010 Census brief,Housing Characteristics: 2010, that shows the homeownership rate is the second highest on record, behind only 2000, since homeownership data collection began in 1890. However, the rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 65.1 percent between 2000 and 2010. The decrease is the largest since the period from 1930 to 1940.

Housing Inventory Grew the Most in South and West

The national housing inventory increased by 15.8 million units, or 13.6 percent, from 2000 to 2010. The housing inventory increased in all states during the decade but grew faster in the South and West than in the Midwest and Northeast. The South grew 17.9 percent to 50.0 million units and the West grew 17.3 percent to 28.6 million units. In contrast, the Midwest grew by 9.3 percent to 29.5 million units and the Northeast grew by 6.6 percent to 23.6 million units.

All of the states with the largest percentage increases in housing units were in either the West or the South: Nevada (41.9 percent), Arizona (29.9 percent), Utah (27.5 percent), Idaho (26.5 percent), Georgia (24.6 percent), Florida (23.1 percent), North Carolina (22.8 percent), Colorado (22.4 percent), Texas (22.3 percent) and South Carolina (21.9 percent).

No states in either the Midwest or the Northeast experienced a percentage change in housing inventory greater than the national increase of 13.6 percent. In the Northeast, housing units in Pennsylvania (6.0 percent), New York (5.6 percent) and Rhode Island (5.4 percent) increased less than both the nation and the Northeast as a whole (6.6 percent). West Virginia had the lowest percentage increase of any state at 4.4 percent.

Metro Areas Have More Homeowners while Major Cities Have More Renters

As a percentage of the entire national inventory, more than a third of all owner-occupied homes (38.3 percent) and renter-occupied homes (35.6 percent) were in the South. The homeownership rate in the Midwest was 69.2 percent, followed by the South (66.7 percent), the Northeast (62.2 percent) and the West (60.5 percent). Homeownership rates decreased in each region from 2000 to 2010.

West Virginia (73.4 percent) and Minnesota (73.0 percent) had the highest homeownership rates in 2010 as well as 2000. The states with the next highest homeownership rates in 2010 were Michigan (72.1 percent), Iowa (72.1 percent), and Delaware (72.1 percent). As in 2000, New York had the lowest percentage of homeowners at 53.3 percent.

All but one metropolitan area had more homeowners than renters in 2010. With a homeownership rate of 49.5 percent, Manhattan, Kan., was the only metro area where renters outnumbered homeowners. In 2000, five metro areas had more renters than homeowners.

The metro areas with the highest homeownership rates can be found primarily in Michigan and Florida, where each had three metro areas in the top 10. Monroe, Mich., had the highest percentage of owner-occupied units at 79.8 percent, followed by Punta Gorda, Fla. (79.7 percent), Holland-Grand Haven, Mich. (78.2 percent), Bay City, Mich. (77.8 percent) and Barnstable, Mass. (77.4 percent).

While homeowners were the majority in most of the nation’s metro areas, they were outnumbered by renters in many of the country’s largest cities, including the four most populous cities. This was similar to 2000. In New York, renters made up 69.0 percent of households, followed by Los Angeles (61.8 percent), Chicago (55. 1 percent) and Houston (54.6 percent).

Similar to metro areas, homeowners were the majority in most of the nation’s counties. Homeowners outnumbered renters in all but 1.5 percent of the 3,143 counties and equivalent areas in the country. The counties with the highest homeownership rates were Keweenaw County, Mich. (89.8 percent), Sumter County, Fla. (89.7 percent), Alcona County, Mich. (89.6 percent), Morgan County, Utah (89.1 percent) and Powhatan County, Va. (88.5 percent).

Despite most counties having a majority of homeowners, many saw a decrease in the homeownership rate and an increase in renter occupancy. The largest percentage point increases in renter occupancy were in Loving County, Texas (19.8), Manassas Park, Va. (13.2), and Madison County, Idaho (10.9). Only 14 counties had more than a 5 percentage point increase in their homeownership rates.

Every region and all but three states experienced a percentage point increase in their gross vacancy rate during the decade. Nevada led all states with both the largest percent increase in total housing units and the largest percentage point increase in the gross vacancy rate. Only three states, New Mexico (-0.9), Wyoming (-0.2) and Hawaii (-0.1), experienced a decrease in their gross vacancy rates.

Vacant Units

Many of the states with the highest homeowner vacancy rates also had the highest rental vacancy rates in 2010. The homeowner vacancy rate is the proportion of homeowner inventory that is unoccupied and “for sale,” and the rental vacancy rate is the proportion of the rental inventory that is unoccupied and “for rent.” Of the top 10 states with the highest homeowner vacancy rates, eight were also in the top 10 for rental vacancies: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Data on vacant units and homeownership rates are collected for several different Census Bureau surveys in addition to the 2010 Census, including the Housing Vacancy Survey and the American Community Survey. Noticeable differences in results occur because of differences in data collection methods. For example, the 2010 Census measured occupancy status as of April 1, 2010, while other surveys measure the status of a sampling of units at the time a field representative conducts the interview.