2000 Census Results: Housing Trends 1990-2000

National Overview

Between 1990 and 2000, a period that included the longest sustained economic expansion in the Nation's history, U.S. housing stock experienced a net increase of 13.3 percent from 99.2 million units to 112.3 million units.1 The national homeownership rate as of the 2000 census was 66.2 percent, up from 64.2 percent in 1990.

This report examines recently released data on housing and homeownership from the 2000 census2 and provides comparisons to 1990 census data. It provides a brief summary of the development of the Nation's housing over the past decade.

State and national housing statistics are included in Table 1. Only the District of Columbia saw a decline in the number of housing units. North Dakota had the slowest growth in housing during the 1990s at 4.5 percent while Nevada saw the fastest increase at 59.8 percent. West Virginia was the State with the highest homeownership rate in 2000 at 75.2 percent, while New York and the District of Columbia had the lowest rates at 53.0 percent and 40.8 percent, respectively. Arkansas (-0.2 percent) was the only State to experience a decline in the homeownership rate during the 1990s as rapid growth in rental housing outpaced new owner-occupied homes. Alaska (6.4 percent) saw the highest increase in the homeownership rate followed closely by Nevada (6.1 percent), although both of these States had homeownership rates below the national rate in 2000.

Metropolitan Areas

There were 89.2 million housing units in metropolitan areas in 2000, or 79.4 percent of all housing units. Metropolitan areas contained a disproportionate share of the Nation's rental housing units (30.1 million, or 84.5 percent). Thus, the homeownership rate in metropolitan areas was somewhat lower than the national rate at 64.2 percent. Table 2 provides summary data for the Nation, metropolitan areas, central cities, and suburbs.3

Nearly every metropolitan area experienced an increase in total housing units. Only five metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had declines in the number of housing units: Enid, OK MSA (-2.0 percent), Wheeling, WV-OH MSA (-0.7 percent), Steubenville-Weirton, OH-WV MSA (-0.6 percent), Johnstown, PA MSA (-0.2 percent), and Grand Forks, ND-MN MSA (-0.1 percent). The metropolitan area with the greatest rise in total housing units was Las Vegas, NV-AZ MSA with an astounding 74.8 percent increase over the decade. Naples, FL MSA and Yuma, AZ MSA tied for a distant second with 53.9-percent increases in total units. Tables 3 and 4 provide statistics on the fastest- and slowest-growing (or declining) metropolitan areas.

Tables 5 and 6 presents homeownership rates for the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest and lowest homeownership rates. The metropolitan area with the highest homeownership rate in 2000 was Punta Gorda, FL MSA at 83.7 percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than the average for metropolitan areas and up 4.1 percentage points from 1990. Jersey City, NJ primary metropolitan statistical area (PMSA) had the lowest homeownership rate at just 30.7 percent, 1.8 percentage points lower than its 1990 rate.

Most metropolitan areas saw increases in their homeownership rates. Of the 331 metropolitan areas, only 31 had a decrease in their homeownership rate between 1990 and 2000. Of these, only one (Binghamton, NY MSA) had a decrease in the number of owner-occupied units. In the rest, the growth rate of renter-occupied units outpaced that of owner-occupied housing. Tables 7 and 8 list the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest point increases in the homeownership rate and the 10 metropolitan areas with the smallest increases, or decreases, in the homeownership rate. They also provide the distribution of owner- and renter-occupied housing in these metropolitan areas. The Grand Junction, CO MSA led all metropolitan areas with a 7.8-percent increase in the homeownership rate. Jersey City, NJ PMSA had the largest decrease in the homeownership rate (1.8 percent) as rental housing grew at three times the rate of owner-occupied housing during the decade.

Central Cities

There were 35.1 million housing units in the 542 central cities of metropolitan areas in 2000, 31.2 percent of the U.S. total and 39.3 percent of metropolitan housing units. Central cities contained a disproportionately large share of rental housing units (16.2 million, or 45.5 percent of the U.S. total) and 53.8 percent of metropolitan rental units. Thus, the homeownership rate of 50.5 percent in central cities was much lower than the national rate (see table 2). Even so, 2000 marks the first year that the homeownership rate in central cities exceeded 50 percent.

The remainder of this analysis focuses on the 178 large central cities with populations of 100,000 or more in 2000. Although they constitute only about one-third of all central cities, the large central cities contained more than 77 percent of all central-city housing units. Most of the large central cities gained housing units from 1990 to 2000; only 41 large central cities lost housing units. One way for cities to grow is to annex areas that may already contain housing. Therefore, it is not surprising that of the 10 cities gaining the most housing units, 5 (Augusta and Athens, GA; Vancouver, WA; and Laredo and Brownsville, TX) increased their land area by more than the increase in housing units (see Tables 9 and 10).

Central cities generally have lower homeownership rates than the rest of the country; this is even more so in large central cities. Tables 11 and 12 list the highest and lowest homeownership rates for the large central cities. Only the five cities with the highest homeownership rates (Cape Coral, FL; Joliet and Aurora, IL; Scottsdale, AZ; and Cedar Rapids, IA) were above the national rate. Only 10 large central cities had homeownership rates above the average rate for metropolitan areas of 64.2 percent.

Most of the large central cities (126) saw an increase in the homeownership rate between 1990 and 2000. Of the 178, 52 had decreases. Again, 3 of the 10 cities with the largest increases in homeownership rates (Augusta and Athens, GA, and Vancouver, WA) were aided by extensive consolidation with, or annexation of, suburban areas (see tables 13 and 14). Seven of the 10 large central cities with the largest declines in homeownership rates saw reductions in the number of owner-occupied units. The remaining three (Springfield, MO, and Lancaster and Irvine, CA) saw the number of rental units grow faster than the number of owner-occupied units.

For More Information

These and other 2000 census data on central cities, metropolitan areas, and suburban areas are available on the State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS) at The SOCDS is HUD's Internet source for data on individual central cities, metropolitan areas, and suburban areas. SOCDS includes data from the 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses; HUD's special city-level tabulations of County Business Patterns data; monthly unemployment statistics for central cities and metropolitan areas from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and crime statistics for central cities and metropolitan areas from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports.


1 All analysis excludes seasonal units and "group quarters" facilities.

2 The 2000 census data are from the U.S. Census Bureau's Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics series. This series includes data down to the place level tabulated from the 100-percent count. It does not include detailed data such as the race/ethnicity of heads of household. These data are part of the Standard File 1 tabulations that had not been released in their entirety at the time this report was written.

3 "Suburbs" refers to the areas inside of metropolitan areas but outside of central cities.

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