Census Bureau Report Shows Homeownership Rates Among Foreign-Born Increase with Time in the United States and Citizenship


WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half (52 percent) of foreign-born householders owned their homes in 2011. In contrast, about two-thirds (67 percent) of native-born householders owned their homes.

A new report, Homeownership Among the Foreign-Born Population: 2011, released today, examines the homeownership and renter status among foreign-born households based on data from the 2011 American Community Survey.

“Homeownership is a goal shared by many residents of the United States, both native- and foreign-born, citizen and noncitizen,” said Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Foreign-Born Population Branch at the Census Bureau. “For immigrants in particular — who maintain nearly one in seven households in the U.S. — making the transition from renter to homeowner represents a significant investment in the United States.”

A household is designated as native- or foreign-born based on the nativity of the householder, regardless of the other occupants’ nativity. A householder is the person, or one of the people, in whose name the home is owned, being bought or rented. Country and region of origin of the household are based on the nativity of the householder as well.

This report found that foreign-born naturalized citizens were more likely to own their homes than foreign-born noncitizens. In naturalized citizen households, 66 percent were owner-occupied. That compares with 34 percent of noncitizen households.

Rates of homeownership among foreign-born households also increased with time spent in the United States. Among foreign-born households with a householder who entered the country before 1980, nearly three-fourths were owned rather than rented. Among households headed by someone who entered the U.S. since 2000, only one-fourth were owned.

According to the brief, just 10 metropolitan statistical areas accounted for about half the nation’s foreign-born households in 2011, led by New York and Los Angeles, each of which had more than 1 million foreign-born households. Rounding out the top five were Miami, Chicago and Houston.

Nearly half, or about 45 percent, of the metropolitan areas in the Northeast, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania, exceeded the national homeownership average for foreign-born households of 52 percent. These areas included Allentown, Pa.; Lancaster, Pa.; Philadelphia; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Syracuse, N.Y.

Homeownership by the foreign-born varied considerably around the country. States such as Alaska, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire and New Mexico had homeownership rates of about 60 percent among foreign-born households. In contrast, fewer than 40 percent of foreign-born households were owned rather than rented in Washington, D.C., and New York.

There was considerable variation in homeownership rates among the various region-of-birth households in 2011. For example, 66 percent of households with a householder from Europe were owner-occupied, compared with 40 percent of households headed by someone born in Africa. In general, foreign-born households with a householder from Europe, Asia and other regions were more likely to own their homes than those headed by someone from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from town and city planners to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation’s people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said such information would allow Congress to “adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community,” and over the decades, allow America “an opportunity of marking the progress of the society.”

Editor’s note: The data presented in this brief are based on the 2011 American Community Survey sample. Measures of the sampling errors are provided in the form of margins of error for estimates in the brief. For more information on sampling and estimation methods, confidentiality protection, and sampling and nonsampling errors, please see: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/data_documentation/Accuracy/ACS_Accuracy_of_Data_2011.pdf.

Melanie Deal
Public Information Office

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