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Homeownership in United States
United States

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United States Value:


Percentage of housing units owned by the occupant

Homeownership in depth:

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Homeownership by State

Percentage of housing units owned by the occupant

Homeownership Trends

Percentage of housing units owned by the occupant

Trend: Homeownership in United States, 2023 Annual Report

Percentage of housing units owned by the occupant

United States

 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey

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About Homeownership

US Value: 65.2%

Top State(s): West Virginia: 74.5%

Bottom State(s): New York: 54.1%

Definition: Percentage of housing units owned by the occupant

Data Source and Years: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2022

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Housing is an essential component of health and well-being. Homeownership provides a sense of stability and safety by preventing frequent moves and minimizing the financial burdens associated with renting. Additionally, homeownership plays an important role in wealth accumulation, which is a major determining factor of health and income inequality. Homeownership provides an opportunity for individuals to build wealth for themselves and their families. Low-income households, in particular, may accumulate wealth more successfully through homeownership than through other means. 


According to America’s Health Rankings data, homeownership is significantly lower among non-Hispanic Black, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic white adults. Racial segregation and mortgage discrimination have historically kept Black Americans from purchasing houses. Low-income and racial/ethnic minority households are more likely to transition from owning back to renting than high-income white households and are less likely to regain ownership. 

Homeownership is also lower among younger adults compared with older adults.


Strategies to ensure greater access to homeownership include

  • Providing information and knowledge about the homebuying process, especially to low-income and racial/ethnic minority households. 
  • Expanding financial subsidies for down payments or housing reparations to increase purchasing power among low-income households.
  • Reforming the current federal tax policy to use a tax credit rather than a deduction, which would increase tax benefits from purchasing a house. 
  • Expanding financial support for low-income homeowners to prevent them from transitioning back to renting. 
  • Enforcing fair housing laws to protect racial/ethnic minority buyers from discrimination. 

Homeownership carries more risk for low-income homeowners than high-income homeowners. Policies made to encourage homeownership among low-income families requires a foundation of protection against financial risk. Selling decisions need to be made fairly so that homeowners can finance their mortgage and generate a positive return


Healthy People 2030 identifies housing instability as a key issue within the Economic Stability domain of the social determinants of health. 


Boehm, Thomas P., and Alan Schlottmann. “Wealth Accumulation and Homeownership: Evidence for Low-Income Households.” Cambridge, MA: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, December 2004.

Carroll, Daniel R., and Ross Cohen-Kristiansen. “Evaluating Homeownership as the Solution to Wealth Inequality.” Economic Commentary  (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland), December 20, 2021, 1–7.

Herbert, Christopher E., Shannon Rieger, and Jonathan Spader. “Expanding Access to Homeownership as a Means of Fostering Residential Integration and Inclusion.” In A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality. Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.

Krisberg, Kim. “Income Inequality: When Wealth Determines Health: Earnings Influential as Lifelong Social Determinant of Health.” The Nation’s Health 46, no. 8 (October 2016): 1–17.

Rolfe, Steve, Lisa Garnham, Jon Godwin, Isobel Anderson, Pete Seaman, and Cam Donaldson. “Housing as a Social Determinant of Health and Wellbeing: Developing an Empirically-Informed Realist Theoretical Framework.” BMC Public Health 20, no. 1 (December 2020): 1138.

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