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Foreclosure Fallout: 43 Percent of Americans Are Still Renting

by Martha C. White /

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Although the start of the mortgage meltdown is nearly a decade in America’s rearview mirror, its effects are still evident in the number of former homeowners who are treading water in the nation’s rental market.

A new report by real estate site Trulia.com found that the number of renters across the United States grew by about five percentage points between 2006 and 2014, to just over 43 percent.

Within this cohort, though, some geographic and demographic groups suffered a more acute dropoff in homeownership levels. As aspiring presidential nominees travel to Las Vegas to woo Nevada voters in advance of that state’s primary later this month, candidates will be facing a population in which fully half of households rent today, up from just under 40 percent a decade earlier, the highest increase among major U.S. metro areas.

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While adults under 35 always have rented in substantially higher numbers than older age brackets, the leading edge of the millennial generation — those between the ages of 26 and 34 — bore the brunt of the mortgage market implosion, with the percentage of renters shooting up 11 percentage points to 67 percent.

Read More: Highly Educated, Unemployed and Tumbling Down the Ladder

The increase in the percentage of men, or households headed by men, who became renters in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis was greater than it was for women, although women continue to rent rather than own their homes at a higher rate than men.

Minorities, especially Latinos, have struggled to regain lost ground.

Although the number of African-American households who rented in 2006 was higher than that of whites by a significant margin of 26 percentage points, both groups saw an increase of 5 percentage points in their respective rental populations. Among Latino households, though, the number of renters jumped by nearly 9 percentage points, to 66 percent in 2014.

A recent Bankrate.com survey found that not having enough money for a down payment and poor credit are the primary reasons American families who rent today from buying a home of their own.

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