Fordham Notes: Sociology Professor Outlines Decrease in Homeownership

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sociology Professor Outlines Decrease in Homeownership

Not everyone benefitted from the housing boom ten years ago.

That was the conclusion of research by Emily Rosenbaum, Ph.D., professor of sociology, whose report on home ownership was published in March by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University as part of the US2010 project.

Homeownership, in fact, saw a dramatic decrease for certain groups, between 2001 and 2011, according to Rosenbaum’s report, “Home Ownership’s Wild Ride, 2001-2011.

Between the housing-market collapse and the Great Recession, Rosenbaum found that Generations X and Y are homeowners at a lower rate than their older cohorts were at the same stage of life. In addition, Black households experienced lower rates of homeownership than their White counterparts.

Homeownership among lower income and less educated households also experienced a hit, widening the gap between the high and low socioeconomic households.

“We haven’t seen a drop in the overall home ownership rate this large since the Great Depression,” Rosenbaum wrote. “Losses were particularly large among black households, less-educated households, and households in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution. The unequal pattern of loss considerably widened the ownership gaps between black and white households, highly educated and less-educated, and high- and low-income households.”

It was also noteworthy, Rosenbaum said, that those same groups did not participate in the surge in home ownership during the first half of the decade. Low-income households, black households and non-college-degree households saw “little change” in ownership between 2001 and 2005.

“In contrast, increases of two, three, or four points typified the experience of households headed by college graduates, non-black households, and households in the top 20 percent of the income distribution,” Rosenbaum wrote.

Rosenbaum’s findings are based on six years of data from the March Current Population Survey (CPS; 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011), capturing the periods immediately before and after the housing bubble’s burst. The full US2010 policy brief can be downloaded here:

– Jenny Hirsch

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