20 Insightful Renter Statistics

For 43 million Americans, renting is the norm. If you’re curious about the world of renting in the United States, here are 20 insightful renter statistics worth reviewing.

1. The United States Has 43 Million Renters

While it’s true that the number of renters does shift every year, as economic conditions do play a major role, the number of renters in the country is quite high. Overall, there are about 43 million renter households in the United States.

[Source: Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies]

2. Just 45% of Renters Could Afford to Buy in Their City

As mentioned above, not all renters rent out of choice. At times, it’s a necessity because the cost of buying in their area just isn’t practical for them to handle.

On average, a mere 45% of renters could handle the financial cost of buying a typical property in their city. That means, on average, 65% of renters wouldn’t be able to afford the payments on a median-priced home in their region.

[Source: MarketWatch]

3. In High-Cost Cities, Just 10% of Renters Could Buy

While, on average, 45% of renters could potentially buy a home in their area, if you focus on higher-cost cities, it’s a different story. In expensive markets, such as what you find in the Northeast and on the West Coast, only 10% of renters could afford the cost of purchasing a property, leaving 90% functionality without the ability to buy in their area.

[Source: MarketWatch]

4. 45.1% of Renters Spend At Least 30% of Their Income on Housing Costs

Widespread financial advice states that households shouldn’t dedicate more than 30% of their income to housing. Otherwise, they can become cost-burdened, causing them to struggle to handle other crucial expenses associated with daily living.

While most would prefer to stay below that number, it isn’t practical or possible for everyone. Nationwide, more than 45% of renters dedicate at least 30% of their household income to handling rent and utility costs. However, in states like Florida, California, Vermont, and Hawaii, the%age is much higher, with more than 50% of renters in those states cross the 30% threshold.

[Source: Insurance Information Institute]

5. 65% of Households Headed by Someone 34 Years Old or Younger Are Renters

Overall, younger adults are far more likely to rent than older adults. Overall, 65% of households headed by an adult under the age of 35 rent. In comparison, only 41% of households headed by a person 35 to 44 rent. Additionally, just 28% of homes run by 45 to 64-year-olds rent, and a mere 21% of those headed by an adult age 65 or older do.

[Source: Pew Research]

6. 69% of Renters Move Because of Rent Increases

When it comes to why renters head for the door and don’t turn back, rent increases are most commonly blamed. Overall, 69% of renters stated that a hike in the price spurred their decision to find a new place to live, with 30% specifically citing it as a major factor.

[Source: Zillow]

7. 5 Million Renter Households Are Subsidized Through HUD

Housing assistance is a crucial safety net for lower-income households. Overall, 5 million households receive some form of assistance through HUD, including access to public housing, housing vouchers, and Section 8.

[Source: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development]

8. One-Third of Renters Between 18 and 29 Started 2021 Behind on Rent

Partially due to COVID-19, many renters saw their income tumble, fell behind on their rent, putting them in arrears as 2021 began. Overall, renters between 18 and 29 were most likely to be behind, with about one-third starting 2021 in arrears.

[Source: Statista]

9. 53% of Black Renters Began 2021 with Past-Due Rent

When it comes to which demographic group started 2021 with the largest rent deficit, black renters were far ahead of other groups. Overall, 53% of black renters were in arrears at the start of 2021. Next were Hispanic renters, coming in at 38%.

[Source: Statista]

10. 72% of Renters Want to Own a Home

While renting does have its benefits, many renters do dream of owning their own home. Overall, 72% would like to make it happen during their lifetime.

[Source: Pew Research]

11. 84% of Renters Think That Renting is the Affordable Choice

Whether renting is seen as the more or less affordable option can change, as housing market conditions play a big role in perceived affordability. As housing costs are rising in many areas, more people view renting as the better option. As a result, around 84% of renters feel they are making the affordable choice.

[Source: Freddie Mac]

12. College Graduates Are Least Likely to Be Renters, with Only 29% Renting

When it comes to education levels and renting, household heads with more education are less likely to be renters. Overall, 29% of those with Bachelor’s degrees or higher rent.

In comparison, 38% of households where the head’s highest education level is a high school diploma rent. Additionally, 52% of those run by someone who didn’t graduate high school rent.

[Source: Pew Research]

13. The Average Credit Score of a Renter Is 638, While National Average is 711

Overall, the average credit score of renters in the United States is 638. While that does mark an upward shift, it falls far below the average FICO score in the U.S., which comes in at 711.

[Source: Million Acres & Value Penguin]

14. 33% of Renters Have Doubt in Their Ability to Pay Next Month’s Rent

Many renters consistently worry about their ability to pay rent, particularly as many are still feeling hardships related to the pandemic. Overall, one-third of renters have no or only slight confidence in their ability to cover their rent next month.

[Source: United States Census Bureau]

15. 58% of Black Households Rent, and 53% of Hispanic Households Do

When it comes to renters, certain demographic groups are far more likely to be in that category. Overall, 58% of black households are headed by renters, as well as 53% of Hispanic households. Comparatively, less than 31% of white households are in that category.

[Source: United States Census Bureau]

16. 75% of HUD-Subsidized Households Are Headed by Women

When it comes to HUD-subsidized households, 74% of them have female heads of household. Additionally, 32% are specifically headed by single mothers.

[Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development]

17. 40% of Adult Renters in NYC Have a Roommate

New York City is notorious for high rent prices. While not all people decide to bring another non-family member into the picture for purely financial reasons, many do. Overall, 40% of adult renters in the city don’t shoulder the cost alone, opting instead to live with a roommate.

[Source: Curbed]

18. 10.3% of Americans Used COVID-19 Stimulus to Pay Rent

When stimulus payments rolled out in early 2021, 10.3% of the recipients used the money to pay rent. That number was notably higher than the number who used it to handle a mortgage payment, which came in at 7.5%.

[Source: iPropertyManagement]

19. On Average, Renters Insurance Costs Just Under $15 per Month

Renters insurance is a simple form of protection, giving renters a financial safety net if their property is damaged by a covered event. On average, renters insurance runs about $179 per year, coming out to a little less than $15 per month.

[Source: Insurance Information Institute]

20. Only 37% of Renters Have Renters Insurance

While most would view renters insurance as being reasonably affordable, only 37% of renters actually have it. In some cases, this is because renters mistakenly believe that their landlord’s property insurance policy covers them. While that isn’t true, the belief causes them to view renters insurance as unnecessary, leading them to skip it.

In others, it’s because their budgets are so tight that even that small cost isn’t something they can handle. At times, it may even be issues with the renter’s credit history, as many insurers conduct soft inquiries and may deny coverage to someone with a poor record. There can even be situations where a company deems a place too high risk, causing them to not cover anyone in a particular building, neighborhood, or area.

[Source: Insurance Information Institute]

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the renter statistics above are enlightening. They showcase the financial burden many people have to shoulder to maintain housing, as well as what typical renters may look like in the country. Additionally, it indirectly highlights income disparities among people of different demographics, including racial background, education level, gender, and more.