Homeowners vs Renters Statistics

Homeowners continue to enjoy greater financial security and quality of life compared to most renters, and in the U.S., there are nearly twice as many homeowners as there are renters.

82.8 m
owner-occupied homes
42 m
renter-occupied units
65.8%
homeownership rate in 2020
1%
2020 homeowner vacancy rate

Homeowner vs. Renter Statistics

  • The rate for homeownership in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2020 was around 65.8%, marking an increase from 65.1% in 2019.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2020, approximately 82.8 million homes were owner-occupied, compared to 79.3 million in 2019.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2020, 42 million homes were renter-occupied, compared to 43.5 million in 2019
  • The homeowner vacancy rate was 1% in the fourth quarter of 2020, and rental vacancy rate approximately 6.3%.
  • 8 million householders between the age of 35 to 44 years old made up the largest population of renters in the U.S. in 2019, followed by 7.3 million householders aged 45 to 54 years old.
  • In 2019, 7.3% of renters experienced uncomfortable cold in their homes for more than 24 hours, compared to 5.2% of homeowners

In March 2021, the Census Bureau surveyed 249 million Americans who had received stimulus money during the pandemic. Among these:

  • 10.3% used it to pay rent
  • 7.5% used it to pay a mortgage
  • 22% used it to buy food
  • 17.5% used it to pay utilities and telecommunications
  • 12.9% used it to pay down debt

In March 2021, renters and homeowners facing the likelihood of eviction or foreclosure were highest in North Dakota, Arizona, Indiana, Colorado, and Michigan.

Confidence Among Renters During the Pandemic:

In March 2021, the Census Bureau surveyed 54 million Americans 18 years and older living in renter-occupied housing units. Among these, 24 million renters indicated they had high confidence in paying next month’s rent:

  • 3,857,295 were 1 person households, 8,415,705 were 2 person households, 4,417,156 were 3-person households, 3,399,293 were 4-person households, 2,020,685 were 5-person households, 1,080,878 were 6-person households, and 851,535 were 7 or more person households
  • 3.9 million were Hispanic, 14.9 million were white, 2.9 million were black, 1.2 million were Asian, and 941,663 were other races.
  • 10.6 million were never married, 8.4 million were married, 3.8 million were divorced.
  • 5.9 million indicated they had no confidence and 3.6 million were occupying without rent
  • 16 million had no children in the home compared to 7.4 million who did
  • The highest number of renters who expressed high confidence had a yearly household income of less than $25,000, followed by renters whose income was between $50,000 and $74,999
  • The highest number of renters who expressed high confidence were between the age of 25 and 39

In March 2021, 8.3 million adults in renter-occupied housing units were asked about the likelihood of having to leave their present home due to eviction. Among those who responded:

  • 1.4 million renters indicated it was very likely:
    • 42% of renters aged 25-39, 27% of renters aged between 40-54
    • 36% were white, 32% were Hispanic, 25.2% were black
    • 43% had an income under $25,000
    • 32% were currently employed
  • 1.7 million renters indicated it was not likely at all:
    • 36% of renters aged 25-39, and 30.2% of renters aged between 40-54
    • 22% were Hispanic, 30% were white, 27.1% were black, 16% were Asian, and 4.4% were of other races or persons of 2 or more races
    • 23.9% had an income under $25,000, and 17.9% had an income between $50,000 and $74,999
    • 54% were currently employed

Confidence Among Homeowners During the Pandemic:

In March 2021, the Census Bureau surveyed 9 million American homeowners 18 years and older. Among these:

  • 4.1 million homeowners indicated it was not likely at all they would have to leave their home due to foreclosure:
    • 56% were between the age of 25 and 54
    • 49% were white, 20% were Hispanic, 13.4% were black, 12.5% were Asian
    • 19.3% had an income between $50,000 and $74,999, 14.4% had an income between $100,000 and $149,999 and 12.4% had an income under $25,000
    • 63% were currently employed
  • 381,145 said it was very likely they would have to leave their home due to foreclosure:
    • 6.2% were between the age of 25 and 54
    • 44.3% were white, 39%% were Hispanic, 10.8% were black
    • 19.3% had an income between $50,000 and $74,999, 15.7% had an income between $25,000 and $34,999
    • 68% were currently employed

Demographics

By Age:

In the U.S., the average age of homeowners in 2020 was 65 years old. Additionally:

  • The highest percentage of homeowners (80.1%) in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 75 years and older, compared to 78.2% at the same time in 2019.
  • The lowest percentage of homeowners (23.8%) in the fourth quarter of 2020 were under 25 years of age, compared to 24% at the same time in 2019.

 In 2-or-more-person homeowner and renter households that contained no non-relatives, the largest age group was between 45-64 years old.

In renter households where there were children younger than 18 years old present:

  • 6.4 million were married couples. Of these, 3.2 million had one or more child between 6 and 17 years of age
  • 3.5 million were one adult renting. Of these, 2.1 million had one or more child between 6 and 17 years of age

 By Income:

The homeownership rate in the fourth quarter of 2020 for families whose income was greater than or equal to the median family income was 79.4%, compared to 78.8%.

Homeowners are less likely to encounter housing cost burdens than renters.

  • 26% of homeowners and 47% of renters were cost-burdened in 2020, meaning 30% or more of their income went to their housing costs.
  • In 2019, the percentage of homeowners’ income that went to housing costs was highest for owners whose home was a single-unit, detached style structure.
  • 13.7 million owners paid between 10-14% of their income on housing.

Among 44.6 million renters surveyed in 2019:

  • 6.5 million households paid between $1,000 to $1,249 a month on rent
  • 3.1 million households paid over $2,500 a month on rent
  • 1.4 million households in the Pacific Census Division(Alaska, Hawaii, Washington State, Oregon, and California) paid over $2,500 a month on rent, compared to 664,000 who paid less than $1,000 a month on rent.
  • 24.3 million had an income at 200% or higher of the poverty level
  • 4.9 million had an income at less than 50% of the poverty level

 39% of renter households are not eligible for HUD assistance in 2019. Furthermore:

  • 19% of renters were eligible with incomes between 51% and 80% of area median incomes, but not HUD-assisted.
  • 32.5% of renters were eligible with incomes less than 50% of area median incomes, and also not HUD-assisted.
  • 4.77% of renters were HUD-assisted with the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • 2% of renters were HUD-assisted and in public housing

Among 79.4 million homeowners surveyed in 2019:

  • 62 million had an income at 200% or higher of the poverty level:
    • 53 million owned single-unit, detached homes, 3.1 million owned single-unit attached homes, and 2.5 million owned manufactured, mobile, or trailer style homes.
  • 3.6 million had an income at less than 50% of the poverty level:
    • 2.6 million owned single-unit, detached homes, 203,000 owned single-unit attached homes, and 465,000 owned manufactured, mobile, or trailer style homes.

9.9% of renter households had a yearly income greater than $120,000, compared to 27.7% of homeowner households.


By Race:

In 2020, 66.6% of Americans owned their homes:

71.3% were white, 50.1% were Hispanic or Latino, 45.3% were black, 54.2% were American Indian or Alaskan Native, 60% were Asian or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Among 44.6 million renters included in the 2019 American Housing Survey, racial origin was as follows:

  • 30.5 million renters were white
    • 8 million non-Hispanic, 7.7 million white & Hispanic
  • 9.7 million renters were black
    • 9 million non-Hispanic, 692,000 black and Hispanic
  • 8.9 million renters were Hispanic
    • 5 million were Mexican
    • 2 million were Puerto Rican                                                                        
    • 414,000 were Cuban
    • 913,000 were Central American
    • 674,000 were South American
    • 1 million identified as other Hispanic
  • 2.5 million renters were Asian
    • 678,000 were Asian Indian only
    • 559,000 were Chinese only
    • 249,000 were Filipino only
    • 118,000 were Japanese only
    • 288,000 were Korean only
    • 214,000 were Vietnamese only
    • 440,000 were another Asian group only
  • 719,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 227,000 were Pacific Islander
    • 52,000 were Native Hawaiian only
    • 32,000 were Samoan only
    • 114,000 were another Pacific Islander group or two or more groups

Single-unit, detached homes are the most popular homes to rent among all races.

 White householders were more likely to rent a single-unit, detached home, with 12.5 million renters in 2019 compared to 9.2 million black renters, 2.4 million Hispanic renters, 284,000 American or Alaska Native renters, 451,000 Asian renters, and 73,000 Pacific Islander renters.

White householders (1.6 million) were more likely to rent a condo or manufactured, mobile, or trailer-style home than all other races combined.

Among 79.4 million homeowners included in the 2019 American Housing Survey:

White householders were more likely to own a single-unit, detached home, with 56.1 million owners in 2019 compared to 6.8 million Hispanic renters, 5.9 million black renters, 3.1 million Asian renters, 553,000 American or Alaska Native renters, and 154,000 Pacific Islander renters.


By Region:

In 2020, homeownership was estimated at 66.6% for the U.S. overall, the highest rate since 2010, when homeownership was 66.9%.

Homeownership rates are highest outside the city. Within metropolitan areas:

  • In 2020, Homeownership rates within principal cities was at 51.8%, compared to 73.2% in the suburbs
  • Outside of metropolitan areas, homeownership was 74.8%

By region, the highest rate of homeownership in the US was in the Midwest, with 70.8% in 2020 compared to 69.5% in 2019. Additionally:

  • The lowest rate of homeownership is in the West, with 60.4% in Q4 2020, compared to 60.3% in Q4
  • Ownership in the Northeast in Q4 2020 was 62.6%, compared to 62.3% in Q4 2019
  • Ownership in the South was 67.7% in Q4 2020, compared to 66.7% in Q4 2019.

 In 2020, the top 15 states with the highest percentage of homeownership were:

  • West Virginia 78.2%
  • Delaware 77.9%
  • Maine 77.1%
  • Alabama 74.8%
  • Minnesota 74.5%

 In 2020, the top 15 states with the lowest percentage of homeownership were:

  • Nevada 61.2%
  • Hawaii 58.8%
  • California 55.9%
  • New York 53.6%
  • District of Columbia 42.5%

 In 2020, the top 5 major metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of homeownership were:

  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 77.4%
  • Birmingham-Hoover, AL 76.0%
  • North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 75.8%
  • Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC 75.5%
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 73.3%

The cities with the lowest percentage of homeowners were:

  • Urban Honolulu, HI 56.9%
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 0%
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 52.6%
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 50.9%
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 48.5%


By Educational Attainment:

 The highest number of householders renting their home in 2019 were high school (or equivalent) graduates, numbering 13.9 million renters. Additionally:

  • 7.6 million had some college but no degree
  • 4 million had an associate’s degree
  • 8.3 million had a graduate or professional degree
  • 4.5 million had some high school but no diploma

 The highest number of householders who were homeowners in 2019 were high school (or equivalent) graduates, numbering 21.1 million owners. Additionally:

  • 11.5 million had some college but no degree
  • 8.3 million had an associate’s degree
  • 19.2 million had a bachelor’s degree
  • 12.5 million had a graduate or professional degree
  • 4.5 million had some high school but no diploma

 Students are more likely to rent their homes:

  • 41 million householders renting their home in 2019 were not currently enrolled in secondary, post-secondary, or graduate schools, compared to 3.1 million were enrolled.
  • 76 million homeowners in 2019 were not currently enrolled in secondary, post-secondary, or graduate schools, compared to 1.4 million were enrolled.

Other Demographics:

Among couples living together in one household  in 2019:

  • The largest number of homeowners (30 million) lived in a household of 2 persons
  • The largest number of renter households (16.9 million) were households of 1 person
  • 4 million renters and 48.2 million homeowners were married with both spouses present
  • 2 million renters and 47.7 million homeowners were opposite-sex married couples
  • 195,000 renters and 499,000 homeowners were same-sex married couples
  • 4 million renters and 3.6 million homeowners were unmarried but both partners present
  • 1 million renters and 3.4 million homeowners were opposite sex unmarried couples
  • 253,000 renters and 221,000 homeowners were same-sex unmarried couples

Veterans were more likely to own their homes than rent in 2019. In households where at least one person served in the military:

  • 8 million veterans were homeowners compared to 3.6 million veterans who rented their homes
  • 585,000 active duty servicemembers owned their homes, compared to 533,000 active duty servicemembers who rented their homes
  • Veterans who served between 1975 and 1990 were more likely to own, with 4.2 million homeowners in 2019, compared to 958,000 who served in the same time frame who were renters
  • 248,000 WWII veterans owned their homes compared to 76,000 who rented their homes

Many Americans who are not related to one another choose to live in “group quarters,” especially in metropolitan areas where housing is scarce and prohibitively expensive. These can also include college residence halls, worker dormitories, group homes, skilled nursing facilities, military barracks, and residential treatment centers.

In 2020, approximately 3% of Americans lived in over 271,000 group quarters.


Type Of Housing

The recent boom in building luxury rental properties has seen the greatest percentage of 2020’s rental vacancies occur in those structures:

  • In 2020, 35% of the vacant rental housing in the U.S. was for units that include 5 rooms or more, with 39% of units having 2 bedrooms, 33% with 1 bedroom, and 26% with 3 bedrooms or more.
  • Vacant housing units in 2020 were predominantly (43%) in structures with 10 or more units, and in newer structures built after 2010 (18%).

The highest number of rental vacancies (20%) is in renter units with rent higher than $2000/mo

Newer luxury homes are also more likely to sit empty in 2020:

  • In 2020, the highest percentage of homeowner vacancy occurred in structures built after 2010, with an average of 2.8% vacancy rate in 2020, a decline from 3.6% in 2019
  • The highest percentage of owner units vacant in 2020 was for homes worth between $500,000 and $599,999

Among 79.4 million homeowners included in the 2019 American Housing Survey:

  • 66.7 million structures belonging to homeowners are classified as detached, single-unit structures
  • 5 million structures belonging to homeowners are classified as manufacturered, mobile, or trailer style structures. Of these, single-wide are the most common (2.3 million).
  • 4.2 million structures belonging to homeowners are classified as condominiums
  • 3.9 million structures belonging to homeowners are classified as attached, single-unit structures (i.e. townhouses).

In the fourth quarter of 2020, 89.1% of all housing in the U.S. was occupied compared to 88.5% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Among remaining units:

  • 8.3% was vacant year-round, compared to 8.9% in Q4 2019
  • 2.1% was listed for rent, which was the same in Q4 2019
  • 0.6% was for sale only, compared to 0.8% in Q4 2019
  • 4.9% was held off the market (1.5% for occasional use, 0.9% temporarily occupied by persons with usual residence elsewhere, and 2.5% listed other)
  • 2.6% was seasonal vacant, which was the same in Q4 2019
  • Two-story homes are the most common structures belonging to homeowners in 2020.

Most housing (19.3 million units) belonging to homeowners was constructed between 1960 and 1979.

Among 44.6 million renters included in the 2019 American Housing Survey:

  • 12.5 million householders were renting a detached, single-unit structure
  • 7 million householders were renting an attached unit that was part of a structure containing 2-4 units
  • 5.6 million householders were renting an attached unit that was part of a structure with 50 or more units
  • 5.4 million householders were renting an attached unit that was part of a structure containing 5-9 units

Quality Of Housing

Among 44.6 million renters surveyed in 2019, 91% indicated they lived in adequate housing that was maintained to a satisfactory standard by their landlord or the homeowner.

  • 816,000 lived in severely inadequate homes, including plumbing, heating, electric, and upkeep issues
  • 41 million renters lived in adequate housing.
  • 4.8 million renters had seen signs of rodents inside the home within previous 12 months
  • 37 million renters had problems with heating equipment in the previous winter, and 34 million were not uncomfortably cold for 24 hours or more
  • 3.3 million (7.3%) renters were uncomfortably cold for 24 hours or more:
    • 1.3 million indicated it was due to equipment breakdowns
    • 357,000 indicated it was due to utility interruption
    • 536,000 indicated it was due to inadequate heating capacity
    • 509,000 indicated it was due to inadequate insulation
    • 236,000 indicated it was due to the cost of heating
  • 40 million renters indicated there had been no leakage from inside the structure in the previous 12 months, compared to 4.2 million who had experienced leakage:
    • 8 million indicated the leakage was caused by leaking pipes
    • 967,000 indicated it was fixtures backing up or overflowing
  • 40.8 million renters indicated there had been no leakage from outside the structure in the previous 12 months, compared to 3.8 million renters who had experienced leakage:
    • 8 million indicated it was a leak from the roof
    • 670,000 indicated it was a leak from the basement
    • 994,000 indicated it was from walls, closed windows, or doors
  • 1.9 (4.26%) million renters experienced mold in their housing unit within the previous 12 months, with the bathroom and bedroom being the worst areas affected
  • Detroit (7%), Chicago (6%), Miami (5%), Atlanta (5%), and New York City (4%) were the metro areas with the highest approximate percentage of severely inadequate rental housing in 2019.

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Miami all had the highest approximate percentages of rental units with mold problems reported in 2019.

Among 79.4 million homeowners surveyed at the same time, only 642,000 indicated their housing was severely adequate, with heating being the biggest issue.

  • 9.9 million had seen signs of rodents within their homes in the previous 12 months
  • 76 million homeowners had problems with heating equipment in the previous winter, and 72 million were not uncomfortably cold for 24 hours or more
  • 4.2 million homeowners (5.2%) were uncomfortably cold for 24 hours or more:
    • 1.5 million indicated it was due to equipment breakdowns
    • 1.1 million indicated it was due to utility interruption
    • 322,000 indicated it was due to inadequate heating capacity
    • 421,000 indicated it was due to inadequate insulation
    • 295,000 indicated it was due to the cost of heating
  • 74 million homeowners indicated there had been no leakage from inside the structure in the previous 12 months, compared to 5.1 million who had experienced leakage:
    • 1 million indicated the leakage was caused by leaking pipes
    • 2 million indicated it was fixtures backing up or overflowing
  • 71.5 million homeowners indicated there had been no leakage from outside the structure in the previous 12 months, compared to 7.9 million who had experienced leakage:
    • 6 million indicated it was a leak from the roof
    • 7 million indicated it was a leak from the basement
    • 1 million indicated it was from walls, closed windows, or doors

1.7 million (2.14%) homeowners experienced mold in their housing unit within the previous 12 months, with the bathroom and basement being the worst areas affected

In 2019, 12.5% of homeowners indicated they had no routine maintenance costs, compared to 8.5% who had routine maintenance costs of $2,400 or more.

Of the 73.9 million homes that had been built prior to 2009, approximately 12% had been gutted for rehabilitation in the previous 10 years by the owners.

In 2019, homeowners undertook significant improvements and disaster repairs to their properties:

  • 5.2 million flood-related disaster repairs worth an average of $25,980
  • 18.8 million tornado/hurricane related repairs worth an average of $20,700
  • 49 million kitchen projects worth an average of $12,630
  • 37 million bathroom projects worth an average of $6,780

Sources

  1. Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS) – Housing Vacancies and Homeownership – People and Households – US
  2. Research and Statistics National Association of Realtors
  3. 2020 Census Group Quarters
  4. High-Frequency COVID Economic Impact Data
  5. The U.S. Census Data Tools