Only 1 in 4 Young Americans Owns A Home; Older Adults Defy Trend of Declining Rates

August 3, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Household Income | Industries | Real Estate | Youth & Gen X

Home ownership rate declines have been especially severe among Millennials, according to a Gallup analysis of surveys fielded since the turn of the century. On average, 63% of adults reported home ownership during the 2010-2017 period, down from 71% during the 2001-2009 period, an 11% decline.

For younger Americans, though, the decline has been more acute. Only around one-quarter (26%) of 18-29-year-olds surveyed in the post-recession period (2010-2017) reported owning a home. That’s down from more than one-third (36%) in the 2001-2009 period, representing a 28% drop.

Home ownership rates are also down for Americans aged 30-49 (63%, from 73%) and for those aged 50-64 (77% down from 84%).

The only group to emerge unscathed is the 65+ bracket. Some 82% of Americans of this age reported home ownership during the 2010-2017 period, up a point from 81% during the 2001-2009 period.

Gallup attributes this to a range of factors, including:

  • The likelihood that many older Americans own their homes outright;
  • Government programs that assist older Americans with housing; and
  • Shifting work patterns, with employment actually increasing among this group.

Previously, research from Epsilon has showed that not only do older Americans report greater household ownership rates than their younger counterparts, but also far higher net worth and monthly household spend.

Gallup points out that the decline in home ownership rates isn’t due to changed attitudes, but rather to financial struggles. Indeed, data contained in a MarketingCharts report on Millennials and financial services indicates that youth are just as likely as older adults to see themselves as future home owners.

Home Ownership by Income and Region

The bursting of the home ownership bubble has affected all household income (HHI) brackets and geographic regions, per Gallup’s data.

Affluent Americans continue to have the highest rates of home ownership (87% for those with HHI of $100-150k; and 84% for those with HHI of $150k+), and these income brackets have also experienced the smallest declines.

But for Americans with household income less than $30k, home ownership has fallen from almost half (48%) to 36%.

Meanwhile, Americans living in the Midwest (66%) and the South (65%) continue to have the highest homeownership rates on a regional basis, while those in the West (-11% points to 59%) now have the lowest rate.

Data from the US Census Bureau indicates that home ownership rates are far higher in rural (81%) than urban (60%) areas.

About the Data: Gallup describes its methodology as follows:

“Results for this Gallup poll are based on combined telephone interviews from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted each April from 2001 to 2017. The combined sample is based on interviews with 16,315 randomly selected adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. This includes 7,110 interviews conducted between 2001 and 2009 and 9,205 interviews conducted between 2010 and 2017. For results based on these samples of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.”


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