neighborhood in jersey city
Photo by Yasir Eryilmaz on Unsplash
At 73 percent, Jersey City, N.J., had the second highest rate of renting households of any major U.S. city in 2016, behind only Newark, N.J.

Millions of Americans lost their homes during the Great Recession, as the housing market collapsed, the economy faltered, and many Americans found themselves unable to pay their mortgages. Now, more than 10 years later, we are examining key changes in the housing market: renting rates, affordability challenges, and homeownership opportunities for the nation’s largest cities, coast to coast.

We are releasing a series of data visualization (viz) tools in late 2018 and early 2019 in tandem with our media partner, Marketplace. Explore all the content below.


Black homeownership falls or stalls nearly everywhere

Released on December 17, 2018

One of the many painful consequences of the Great Recession was the wide-scale erosion of homeownership, and Black Americans were the hardest hit. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies and reported by NPR, Black Americans’ rate of owning homes had been rising throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but fell between 2004 and 2016. As the Urban Institute has noted, “all of the gains in Black homeownership since the Fair Housing Act [of 1968] have been erased since 2000.” Just over 4 in 10 Black households own their home, compared to more than 7 in 10 White households.

While this characterizes the national picture, APM Research Lab sought to discover whether Black residents had made home-owning gains in any major cities across the U.S. in the years since the Great Recession. Our analysis examined America’s 128 cities with populations of 150,000 or more that also had a minimum of 5,000 Black households. In 79 cities and the U.S. as a whole, Black homeownership eroded and Black households swelled the rental market.

Explore the trends for all major cities in the interactive visualization below.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey five-year estimates from 2007-2011 and 2012-2016. Five years of data are used to reduce the error margins. Data tabulations and viz by APM Research Lab.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Which cities have higher and lower rates of Black homeownership? (See 1st tab in viz).
    Black Americans are most likely to be homeowners in a handful of modest-sized cities that have relatively few black households, including Florida cities Port St. Lucie (70.7%) and Pembroke Pines (59.6%), and California cities Fontana (57.4%) and Elk Grove (55.3%). Chesapeake, Va. (53.8%) and McKinney, Texas (51.6%) are the only other cities where more than half of Black households own their homes.

    However, homeownership rates are also higher in select communities where the Black population has a much a larger presence: Birmingham (45.7%), Montgomery (45.1%), and Mobile (45.9%), Ala.; Jackson, Miss. (46.7%); and Detroit, Mich. (46.8%). Among cities with more than 1 million residents, Black homeowning rates are highest in Philadelphia, Penns. (47.8%) and lowest in New York City (26.5%).

  • Has homeowning among Black households been increasing or decreasing in 128 major U.S. cities in the past decade? (See 2nd tab in viz).
    In 79 cities and the U.S. as a whole, Black homeownership eroded. (Forty other cities had what appeared to be declines but they are not statistically significant. An additional eight cities had rates that were unchanged or appeared to increase, but the change was also not significant.)

  • Have the numbers of Black homeowning households increased or decreased in 128 major U.S. cities? (See 3rd tab in viz).
    Only four cities—Pasadena, Texas; Henderson, Nev.; McKinney, Texas; and New Orleans, La.—saw a statistically significant increase in the number of Black homeowners over the last decade. With the exception of New Orleans, none of the other cities has even 5,000 Black owner households yet. New Orleans added about 3,100 Black owner households, and now has just over 36,000 total Black households who own their home, rather than rent. On the other hand, 57 cities and the U.S. overall saw significant losses in the number of Black owner households. (An additional 47 saw declines in the data, but are not significant, and 20 saw increases that were also not significant.)


The Rise of Renters

Released on October 16, 2018

The Great Recession pushed millions of former American homeowners into the rental market. Since then, tighter credit conditions, low housing supply, and personal financial challenges have also put homeownership out of reach for many. Nationally, the percent of households who rent increased 4.2 percentage points from 2006 to 2016, representing an increase of 7.3 million renting households.

The APM Research Lab sought to discover whether renting rates had decreased in any major U.S. in the years since the Great Recession—countering the national trends. Our analysis examined America’s 173 cities with populations of 150,000 or more. Not a single city saw a (statistically significant) decline in the percent of households that rent, and many saw substantial increases.

Read or listen to the related Marketplace story by reporter Amy Scott here.

Explore the trends for all major cities in the interactive visualization below.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey one-year estimates, 2006-2016. Data tabulations and viz by APM Research Lab.


KEY FINDINGS:

  • Among major cities not a single city saw a (statistically significant) decline in the percentage of households that rent, and many saw substantial increases. Lancaster, Calif., saw the biggest increase in its share of renters between 2006 and 2016, rising by 15.3 percentage points to 51.9 percent, while cities like Brownsville, Texas, and Anchorage, Alaska, saw no significant increase. (See 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tabs in viz).

  • Renting is generally more common in coastal cities in New Jersey, New York, California and Florida. However, some more inland cities also have high rates of renting—for example, Cincinnati, Ohio (62.0%); Milwaukee, Wisc. (59.2%); and Irving (61.7%) and Dallas (59.2%), Texas in the latest data. Newark, N.J., had the highest proportion of renters in 2016, at 79.1 percent, followed by Jersey City, N.J (73.3%), Miami, Fla. (69.9%), New York City, N.Y. (68.0%), and Providence, R.I. (66.9%). (See 4th tab in viz).

  • Households were least like to be renters in Frisco, Texas (25.1%), followed by Elk Grove, Calif. (26.4%), and Cape Coral, Fla. and Cary, N.C. (both 28.3%). (See 4th tab in viz).


Read Marketplace’s “Divided Decade: How the financial crisis changed housing” retrospective about the these and more changes in the housing sector.