Most adults were satisfied with their housing, most lived with someone else, and most owned their own homes in 2019. Adults who were younger, as well as black and Hispanic adults, were less likely to own their own homes and to say that they were satisfied with their housing than the overall average.
During 2019, 86 percent of adults lived with other people, usually a spouse or a partner and frequently their children (table 16). Fifty-two percent of adults lived in a household with a spouse, partner, or child under age 18 and with no one else. Twelve percent of adults lived with a parent, and 15 percent lived with their children age 18 or older. Six percent lived with a sibling, and 5 percent lived with another relative. Four percent of adults lived with someone unrelated to them.
Table 16. People living in household
|Spouse or partner||67|
|Children under age 18||27|
|Brothers or sisters||6|
Note: Adult children includes those in school and not in school. Respondents (other than those who lived alone) could select multiple answers.
Older adults were the most likely to have lived alone in 2019. Twenty-seven percent of adults age 75 or older lived alone, and 39 percent of women age 75 or older lived alone.
Younger adults were the most likely to live with their parents and the least likely to live with a spouse or partner in 2019. Nearly half of 22- to 24-year-olds lived with a parent, and 30 percent lived with a spouse or partner.28 Among 25- to 29-year-olds, a smaller 27 percent lived with parents, and a larger 55 percent lived with a spouse or partner.
Economic circumstances affect household composition and household formation, as adults who live with their parents most commonly did so to save money. Eighty-six percent of adults ages 22 to 24, and 89 percent of those ages 25 to 29, who lived with their parents said that they did so to save money (table 17). The prevalence of living with parents to save money subsequently declines with age. Conversely, the share of adults living with their parents who said that they did so to provide financial assistance generally increases with age.
Table 17. Reasons for living with parents (by age)
|To save money||86||89||72||45|
|To help those living with
|To care for family member
|To receive help with childcare||10||9||18||9|
|Prefer living with others||40||41||39||20|
Note: Among those who lived with a parent. Respondents could select multiple answers.
Owning and Renting
Homeownership is deeply intertwined with a household's finances. Many renters said they did not own because of difficulty getting a mortgage, but some cited other reasons, like the affordability and convenience of renting. Five percent of non-homeowners living with children reported an eviction-related move in the past two years.
Nearly two-thirds of adults owned their homes. Homeowners were generally older than renters. White adults were also disproportionately likely to own their home in 2019. One-quarter of 18- to 29-year-olds owned their homes compared with 85 percent of people age 60 and older (figure 21). Young adults under age 30 were more likely to neither own nor rent, often because they lived with parents. Seventy-one percent of white adults owned their homes, as did 48 percent of black adults and 50 percent of Hispanic adults (figure 22).
Renters, who made up 28 percent of the adult population in 2019, often said that they did not own because of difficulty getting a mortgage.29 More than 6 in 10 renters said they rented because they lacked a down payment (figure 23), and 4 in 10 said they could not get a mortgage. Respondents could give multiple answers to this question, and 64 percent cited at least one of these two issues.
A lack of credit was not the only factor that kept people renting. Many renters said that they rented because of the convenience and affordability. Fifty-two percent of renters cited the convenience of renting. Similar numbers said that it is cheaper to rent and that owning is a bigger financial risk—55 percent and 50 percent respectively. Thirty-five percent of renters said that they were looking to buy.
One potential convenience of renting is having a landlord who promptly makes repairs. Fifty-six percent of renters said they had a problem that needed to be fixed in the last 12 months, although 6 percent of renters did not attempt to contact their landlord about the problem. Forty-four percent of renters who reported the problem said that the landlord resolved these problems with no difficulty to the renter. The rest of the time, however, resolving the problem involved at least a little difficulty. Eight percent of renters (17 percent of those who contacted their landlord) said that the repair involved substantial difficulty (table 18). Renters who paid higher rents were generally more likely to have their problems resolved without experiencing difficulties.
Table 18. Problems with rental units and difficulty getting repairs
|No repair needed||44|
|Needed repairs, but did not contact landlord||6|
|Difficulty repairing if contacted landlord|
|No difficulty with repairs||22|
|A little difficulty with repairs||12|
|Moderate difficulty with repairs||7|
|Substantial difficulty with repairs||8|
Note: Among renters.
Three percent of non-homeowners moved in the two years before the survey and said that their last move was due to an eviction or a threat of eviction. This equates to about 3 million adults.30 Four percent of black non-homeowners and 3 percent of both white and Hispanic non-homeowners experienced either an eviction or the threat of an eviction over this period.
Non-homeowners living with a child under age 18 were twice as likely to have been evicted or threatened with an eviction. Five percent of non-homeowners living with a child reported an eviction-related move, compared to 2.5 percent of other non-homeowners.31
Housing and Neighborhood Satisfaction
Most adults said that they were satisfied with their housing and with their neighborhoods.32 People were less satisfied with the cost of housing and with their local schools than they were with other aspects of their housing. Still, most adults said that they were satisfied with the cost of housing and with local schools.
Eighty-seven percent of adults were satisfied with their housing, and 90 percent were satisfied with their neighborhoods in 2019. Adults' satisfaction with each showed in their satisfaction with other amenities in their neighborhoods (figure 24). Eighty-eight percent were satisfied with the safety of their neighborhoods. While lower, most people were also satisfied with the cost of their housing and with local schools.
Despite generally being satisfied, renters were less satisfied with their housing than owners (figure 25). Seventy-four percent of renters said they were satisfied with their housing overall, compared with 93 percent of owners. Renters were also less satisfied with every aspect of their housing, including its cost.
People's satisfaction with their housing also increased with age and varied by race and ethnicity. Ninety-four percent of people age 60 or older were satisfied with their housing, compared with 83 percent of people ages 18 to 44. Eight in 10 black or Hispanic adults, and 9 in 10 white adults, said that they were satisfied with their housing. Seventy-four percent of black adults, 70 percent of Hispanic adults, and 81 percent of white adults were satisfied with the cost of their housing.
Housing in Rural Areas
People who live in rural areas have different opportunities and challenges. Rural residents were more likely to own their homes, more likely to have grown up close to where they live, and less likely to have broadband internet in 2019.
Seventy-one percent of adults who lived in rural areas owned their homes, compared with 62 percent of other adults. Additionally, rural residents reported a higher rate (by 11 percentage points) of owning their homes without a mortgage compared with people living in other areas (figure 26).
Rural residents also were somewhat more likely to have grown up near where they live now. Among adults who indicated the ZIP Code where they lived when they started high school, 31 percent lived in the same ZIP Code today.33 The percentage was higher—39 percent—for rural residents.
Rural residents also were somewhat less likely to say that they have broadband internet. Eighty-three percent of rural residents said that they had broadband, compared with 90 percent of adults living in or near cities.34 Rural residents were also less likely to have a data plan for a smartphone.
28. Twelve percent of adults ages 22 to 24 lived with a spouse, while the other 18 percent lived with a partner that they were not married to. Return to text
29. In addition to those who either owned or rented their home, 8 percent of adults said that they neither owned nor rented at the time of the survey. Return to text
30. National eviction estimates compiled by Matthew Desmond suggest that there were approximately 900,000 evictions in 2016 affecting 2.4 million people. These estimates are not directly comparable to those in the SHED, however, because the SHED also includes near evictions, only counts adults, and covers the most recent move in the past two years. See https://evictionlab.org/national-estimates/. Return to text
31. The finding mirrors ethnographic research in Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (New York: Crown, 2016) showing pathways that can lead to evictions among families with small children. Return to text
32. The 2018 SHED asked respondents to report their satisfaction with their housing in terms of five categories. The top two pervious categories indicated satisfaction. In 2019, the survey gave two choices—satisfied or not satisfied. The higher rates of satisfaction in 2019 was likely due to the change in the question's wording and the results are not comparable across these years of the survey. Return to text
33. The calculation excludes people who did not provide a ZIP Code, or who gave an invalid ZIP Code. This statistic may understate the number of people who grew up near where they live now because of changes in how the Postal Service allocates ZIP Codes. Return to text
34. Respondents to the SHED, which was administered online, could have been more likely to have broadband internet access than the general population. If rural respondents differ from the rural population by more than other respondents differ from the rest of the population, then the statistics here could either understate or overstate the gap in broadband access. The "Description of the Survey" section of this report provides additional details on the survey's fielding. Return to text