- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Homeownership rose over the last decade nationwide and in the Washington region, an indication of economic vitality, according to an analysis of census figures being released today.
Almost two of three householders 66.2 percent, or 69.8 million households have made good on the American dream, owning the homes they lived in when the census was taken last year. That's up from 64.2 percent who were owners in 1990.
That growth reverses a trend in which ownership growth leveled off from 1960 to 1980 and actually decreased slightly from 64.4 percent in 1980 to 64.2 percent in 1990.
The Washington region is doing about as well as the nation in the category considered a measure of economic health.
In the District ownership increased almost 5 percent, from 38.9 percent of households to 40.8 percent. Maryland saw a 4.2 percent increase to 67.7 percent of households, and Virginia had a 2.7 percent increase to 68.1 percent. Those ownership rates put Maryland and Virginia squarely in the middle of the pack nationwide, while the District lagged far behind.
But the comparison is tenuous since the District is a different political construct than those jurisdictions. A somewhat better comparison may be New York City, which had about 30 percent ownership. That dragged down New York state's homeownership rate to 53 percent, the lowest among the states.
The starkest contrast was between new owner-occupied homes and new rented homes. There were 10.8 million more owner-occupied homes in 2000 than in 1990, an increase by 18.3 percent, and 2.7 million more rental homes than in 1990, a growth of 8.3 percent.
The census report defined homeownership by counting those units occupied by their owners. A householder who still has an outstanding mortgage is considered a homeowner. Renters, vacant properties and vacation homes aren't included.
Jeanne Woodward, one of the two authors of the analysis of the data, said this year is the first time they have broken the figures down for homeowners 85 years of age and older a reflection that people are living longer and living in their homes into their later years. About two of three householders ages 85 or older lived in a home they own.
The report also found:
About four of five married couples owned their home and married couples without children living with them were more likely to own their home than couples with children.
cMore women lived alone more than men 15.5 million to 11.8 million and a higher rate, 56 percent, owned their homes than the single men, at 47 percent.
Taken by region, Westerners were the least likely to own their home, while Midwesterners were the most likely.
When divided by race, whites were far more likely to own their home than minorities. This year, for the first time, the census allowed respondents to check more than one race, but among those checking only one race 28.7 percent of white householders were renting homes, while 53.7 percent of black householders and 46.6 percent of Asian householders rented.


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