Newest ACS Data Shows Continued Growth in Rental Sector

The 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) data, released on September 19, reveal that the number of renters in the U.S. continues to rise. According to the one-year data, there were 41.9 million renters in the country in 2012, an increase of 1.1 million from 2011. These renters continue to face high rates of unaffordable housing cost burden, low rental vacancy rates, and other ongoing issues. According to the data, renters make up 36.1% of all households in the country, up from 35.4% in 2011 and 32.7% in 2006. This surge in the number of renters has caused rental vacancy rates to fall from 7.4% in 2011 to 6.8% in 2012. There was no statistically significant change in either median gross rent or median household income from 2011. In 2012, median gross rent was at $884. The median household income was at $51,371; however, the median household income for renters was just $31,888. For renters earning less than the median household income, the cost of housing remains a major obstacle. There were 13.5 million renter households earning less than $20,000 annually in 2012, and 76% of these households paid more than 30% of their income towards their housing costs. Overall, 48% of renters experienced this level of unaffordable cost burden, and one out of every four renters paid more than half of their income towards rent and utilities. In 2012, approximately 3.5 million households across the country responded to the social, economic, and housing questions on the ACS. The one-year ACS survey results are available at the state, county, and local levels for areas with populations of at least 65,000. The Census Bureau also released three associated research briefs based on 2012 ACS data. One research brief discusses the change in poverty rates from 2000 to 2012 at the national and state level, another goes into further detail about household income by state and for the top 25 metropolitan areas, and the third focuses on changes in health insurance coverage. Access the Census Bureau’s research briefs at: View the 2012 ACS data, available on American FactFinder, at: