Homeownership up, but some gaps remain

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Most Americans who are married with children tend to live in homes they own. More single mothers became homeowners over the 1990s, but about two-thirds still rent instead of own.

During a prosperous decade when homeownership rates increased overall for nearly all Americans, demographic discrepancies remained, shows a 2000 census report released today.

Nationally, 66 percent, or 69.8 million of the 105.5 million occupied housing units in 2000, were lived in by the owner, up from 64 percent of the country’s 91.9 million occupied homes in 1990, the Census Bureau said.

The homeownership rate is at its highest point since at least 1890 and has increased steadily since 43.6 percent in 1940.

"Owning one’s home has long been considered a part of the ‘American Dream,’ " the report said. "The post-World War II surge in homeownership was remarkable."

The report summarized housing statistics released earlier this year from the 2000 census.

Of the 54.1 million married couples, 44.2 million — more than 81 percent — owned their homes in 2000, up from 78 percent in 1990. The proportion of married-with-children families who owned homes increased from 73 percent to 77 percent.

Increases among single-parent families were magnified because of the much smaller number of such households, bureau analyst Bonnie Damon said. In 2000:

  • 38 percent of the 7.6 million women who lived in households without spouses but with their own children under 18 owned homes, up from 31 percent in 1990.

  • 51 percent of the 2.2 million single fathers in the same living arrangement owned homes, up from 45 percent a decade ago.

    The latest census showed single-parent homes are becoming more prevalent in society. Such homes, especially families led by single moms, typically are worse off financially.

    Other findings:

  • Among metropolitan areas, Punta Gorda, Fla., had the highest homeownership rate at 84 percent.

  • Owners outnumbered renters in all but 1 percent of the nation’s 3,141 counties. It was less prevalent in urban areas such as Bronx County, one of New York City’s five boroughs, where only 1 in 5 households were owned by the occupants.

    Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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