Demographic Changes Turn 22 More U.S. Cities into Renter-Majority Markets

The population in some 22 large U.S. cities has shifted from owner-majority to renter-majority during the “recession decade,” with Toledo, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn. and Tampa, Fla. seeing the most abrupt changes.
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The U.S. population has increased by 23.7 million people between 2006 and 2016, and 23 million of them are renters, reveals a comprehensive analysis of Census data by RENTCafé. The other 0.7 million goes to the homeownership column, which is miniscule by comparison.

These dramatic demographic changes in the housing market have had very real consequences at the local level. The population in some 22 large U.S. cities has shifted from owner-majority to renter-majority during the “recession decade,” with Toledo, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn. and Tampa, Fla. seeing the most abrupt changes. The list also includes Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Baltimore, which witnessed increases in renter households despite an overall population decrease. The culprit: a significant shrinkage of their homeowner population.

The 22 new cities that switched are in addition to 20 other big cities that had more renters than owners before 2006, like New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, bringing the total renter-majority cities to 42 out of 100.

Some cities have historically been heavily dominated by renters, in some cases with two-thirds or more of their population living in rental dwellings. Large markets like Newark, N.J.; Jersey City, N.J.; Miami, New York City and Boston have the biggest shares of renters in the entire country.

Between 2007 and 2015, the renter population has been growing faster than the owner population. However, since 2010 the gap has been closing and in 2017 homeownership regained some ground