Housing represents the largest expense for most families and, consequently, housing decisions have the potential to substantially affect economic well-being. The majority of adults owned their homes. Adults who rented their homes were disproportionately lower income, Black, or Hispanic. Some renters faced challenges paying their rent and were more likely to be behind on rent in 2022 than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eighty-six percent of adults lived with other people, usually a spouse or a partner and frequently their children under age 18 (table 25). Some adults also live with people other than their spouse, partner, or minor children, including 14 percent of adults who lived with their parents, and 17 percent who lived with their children age 18 or older.
Table 25. Other people living in household
|Spouse or partner||65|
|Children under age 18||26|
|Adult children age 18 or older||17|
|Brothers or sisters||7|
Note: Among all adults. Respondents (others than those who live alone) could select multiple answers.
People live with others besides their spouse, partner, or minor children for a variety of reasons, and these reasons can change over time. Those in their 20s who lived with their parents most commonly did so to save money. The prevalence of living with one's parents to save money declines with age, although just above half of adults ages 45 to 59 who lived with their parents still said that they did so at least in part to save money (table 26). Conversely, the share of adults living with their parents who said that they did so to provide financial assistance generally increases with age. Providing financial assistance is the most common reason for living with parents among those ages 45 to 59.
Table 26. Reasons for living with parents (by age)
|To save money||90||87||72||51|
|To help them financially||33||42||60||60|
|To provide help with childcare or medical care||11||15||29||40|
|To receive help with childcare or medical care||8||14||26||14|
|Prefer living with others||36||39||37||32|
Note: Among adults living with parents. Respondents could select multiple answers.
Homeownership and Mortgages
Sixty-three percent of adults owned their homes. Yet, the likelihood of owning varied substantially across demographic groups. Nearly 90 percent of adults with a family income of $100,000 or more owned their home, compared with 36 percent among those with less than $25,000 in income. Differences were also present by race and ethnicity, even among those with higher income (table 27).
Table 27. Homeownership rate (by demographic characteristics)
|Less than $25,000||36|
|$100,000 or more||88|
Note: Among all adults.
Nearly two-thirds of adults who owned their home had a mortgage in 2022. The median monthly mortgage payment was $1,400 (table 28).35 Mortgage payment amounts differed across census regions. Mortgage payments were higher in the Northeast and West, compared with the Midwest and South.
Table 28. Median mortgage payment and mortgage payment-to-income ratio (by census region)
|Census region||Median mortgage payment, dollars||Median mortgage-to-income ratio|
Note: Median mortgage payment is calculated among adults who own their own home and report a positive monthly mortgage payment. Median payment-to-income ratios are calculated among adults who own their own home and report a positive monthly mortgage payment and positive family income.
The median share of family income that homeowners with a mortgage spent on their mortgage payment was 17 percent.36 Differences across census regions in the median mortgage payment-to-income ratio were smaller compared with mortgage payments, as the median mortgage payment-to-income ratio helps to account for regional differences in cost of living.
Just above one-fourth of adults (27 percent) rented their home in 2022.37 Lower-income and Black and Hispanic adults were disproportionately likely to rent as opposed to own. Additionally, those who live in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods or who live in metro areas were more likely to be renters (table 29).
Table 29. Share who rent (by demographic characteristics)
|Less than $25,000||40|
|$100,000 or more||11|
Note: Among all adults.
Renters' monthly payments were smaller than monthly mortgage payments made by homeowners. During 2022, the median monthly rent payment was $1,000, which was $400 less than the median mortgage payment.38 That said, renters typically paid a larger share of their family income on housing costs because they frequently had lower incomes than homeowners (table 30). Renters paid a median of 32 percent of their family income on rent, nearly twice that of homeowners.
Consistent with mortgages, monthly rent payments were higher in the Northeast and West, compared with the Midwest and South. Even though the median rent in both the Northeast and West was $1,200, renters in the West spent a higher share of their family income on rent (table 30).
Table 30. Median rent amount and rent-to-income ratio (by census region)
|Census region||Median rent, dollars||Median rent-to-income ratio|
Note: Median rent amount is calculated among renters who report a positive monthly rent. Median rent-to-income ratios are calculated among adult renters who report a positive monthly rent and positive family income.
Renters cited multiple reasons for renting their homes, with many renting their home instead of owning because of their financial circumstances. Consistent with that seen in 2019, when this question was last asked, the most cited reason for renting was an inability to afford a down payment—in 2022, nearly two-thirds of renters cited this as a reason. Four in ten renters indicated that they rent because they cannot qualify for a home mortgage, and 44 percent said they rent because they can't afford the monthly mortgage payment (table 31). Many renters who expressed challenges with affording a mortgage cited several of these reasons.
Table 31. Reasons for renting (by year)
|Can't afford down payment||65||62|
|More convenient or flexible to rent||56||52|
|Can't afford mortgage monthly payment||44||n/a|
|Cheaper to rent||42||55|
|Renting is less financially risky||42||50|
|Can't qualify for home mortgage||40||41|
|Prefer to rent||36||n/a|
|Trying to buy||32||35|
Note: Among renters. Respondents could select multiple answers. The survey question differed slightly in 2019 compared with the 2022 version. Response options "Prefer to rent" and "Can't afford mortgage monthly payment" were not included in the 2019 SHED instrument. Other responses had slightly different wording.
n/a Not applicable.
Although many renters noted financial constraints, these were not the only reasons for renting. Benefits of renting include the flexibility to move more easily as well as the convenience of not having to manage repairs. Over half of renters (56 percent) said that renting is more convenient, and 42 percent rent their homes because they perceive owning as a larger financial risk (table 31). Forty-two percent of renters found it cheaper to rent than own.
The most cited reason for renting was an inability to afford a down payment.
Rent inflation and changes in the cost of housing have the potential to cause some people to move. However, even with the increase in rent prices in 2022, relatively few renters moved primarily because of an increase in rents. Three percent of current renters (15 percent of current renters who moved in the past year) said that the main reason that they moved was because rent increased at their previous home.
Other renters moved because of an eviction or the threat of an eviction. Two percent of current renters said that they moved in the prior year because of an eviction or the threat of an eviction.39 This represents 13 percent of current renters who moved during 2022.40
Challenges with Rental Payments
Many renters faced challenges paying their rent in 2022. Seventeen percent of renters reported that they had been behind on their rent in the past year, matching the share in 2021.
Black and Hispanic renters were more likely to be behind on rent payments than White and Asian renters in 2022, continuing a pre-pandemic pattern (figure 27).41 In 2022, Black renters were more than twice as likely—and Hispanic renters were twice as likely—than White renters to report being behind on rent in the past year.
Forty-five percent of those renters who reported being behind on rent in the past year still owed money for back rent or fees at the time they took the survey. This represents 8 percent of all renters, or 2 percent of all adults, and matches the share who still owed back rent or fees at the time of the 2021 survey. Among those who still owed money for back rent or fees, the median amount owed was $1,200.
35. Owners with a mortgage were asked for the total mortgage payment that they send to their bank, which will typically include escrow payments for taxes and homeowners insurance but will not include utilities. Return to text
36. The income measure used here is the family income of the respondent and their spouse and not that of the entire household. To the extent that people other than the respondent and their spouse pays part of the housing costs, it would reduce these ratios. Return to text
37. The share who own plus the share who rent does not sum to 100 percent because some people live rent free in a house that neither they nor their spouse or partner own. Return to text
38. Renters were asked for the amount that they pay in rent each month but were not asked what utilities are included in that payment. Hence, for some renters this amount may include some or all utilities as part of the payment. Return to text
39. In this report, people who experienced an eviction or the threat of eviction are considered those who reported they were evicted or received an eviction notice; had a landlord tell them or a person they were staying with to leave; missed a rent payment and thought they would be evicted; or were living in a property that was condemned by the city, forcing them to leave. Return to text
40. Some people who were evicted may have moved in with friends or family or moved to other living arrangements that do not require paying cash rent. However, among all people who moved in the past year and did not own their previous home, a similar 14 percent report that they moved because of an eviction or the threat of an eviction. Return to text
41. The pre-pandemic 2019 results are based on a retrospective question on the 2021 survey. Return to text