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Home Ownership Declines in Montgomery County, Per 2010 Census

August 16, 2011

SILVER SPRING, MD – Home ownership rates dropped slightly in Montgomery County in the last decade, with a higher percentage of new homes rented compared to the 1990s. The biggest drop in ownership rates, however, occurred in the under-45 householder age group, where less than half owned a house, a drop of 5.5 percent since 2000.

Information about housing “tenure” – who rents or owns – was released late last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, along with more detailed information about residents’ countries of origin, family size and more. Demographers at the Planning Department analyzed the data to draw a clearer picture of what Montgomery County households look like.

Of the new local households formed between 2000 and 2010, only 57 percent were owner-occupied—a drop from the 1990s, when 74 percent of the new households were owned. In 2000, 68.7 percent of county residents owned their homes, which declined to 67.6 percent in 2010.

However, the number of minorities owning homes has increased. The number of Montgomery County Asian households living in homes they own increased 55 percent to 70.9 percent, the largest shift of any racial group in the last decade. Hispanics also increased homeownership from 52.4 percent in 2000 to 54.6 percent in 2010. Home ownership among non-Hispanic whites remained flat.

The number of homes owned by blacks increased over the decade by 5,414. However, black households are the only group where a higher percentage rents (56.1 percent) rather than owns.

As the Census releases demographic data every few months, county planners are identifying changes that shake long-held notions of traditional local living arrangements. Much of the Planning Department’s analysis this week confirms the need to create more diverse options for residents – in housing, transportation, and the creation and location of jobs. Planners speculate that the economic downturn combined with high housing prices have limited options for some residents. While some of those previous homeowners now rent, others may have doubled up with family members or friends.

Through the process of creating new master plans, planners are working with the community to explore a diversity of housing options – large, small, attached, detached, apartment and condo – as well as choices in owning versus renting, where to live, where to work and how to get around.

When analyzing the county’s minorities, who now make up a slight majority in Montgomery County, the Census found the largest group comes from El Salvador. Some 52,600 residents identified themselves as Salvadorans, an increase of 173 percent since 2000, when the local population stood at 19,270.  The highest concentration of the county’s Salvadorans – about 8,900 or 17 percent – live in Wheaton, followed by 13.5 percent living in Silver Spring. The Census defines Silver Spring as an area roughly from the District line to the Beltway. Other large clusters are in Aspen Hill and the City of Gaithersburg.

Other significant nationalities represented in the county include Chinese, at 35,000 residents, and Asian Indians, at 33,000. Both saw increases of 8,000 and 9,350 respectively.

Some of those increases can be attributed to growing minority families. Hispanics and Asians have the largest families in the county, with 3.87 and 3.02 members per household, respectively.

“With each passing generation, the ‘new’ residents become more and more integrated into our society,” said Planning Director Rollin Stanley. “The children quickly begin to advance in school, graduate into university programs and enter many new walks of life.”

Download Montgomery County data analyzed from the 2010 U.S. Census, visit montgomeryplanning.org/research/data_library/census/2010/ .