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Percentage of Children living in Owner-Occupied Homes Still Down From Prerecession Levels

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The Census Bureau released its annual “Families and Living Arrangements” table package today, finding that about 20 percent of the nation’s children are receiving food stamps. The economic well-being of households with children declined during the recession, evidenced by a 7 percentage point drop in homeownership in 2014 (from 68 percent in 2007 to 61 percent today) among households with children. Not only is homeownership a key asset and financial investment for many families, it also plays an important role in the stability of children’s lives.

Looking at the changes between 2007 and 2014 by family type, the data show that the percentage of children living in owned homes:

  • dropped 6 percentage points for those living in families with cohabiting parents;
  • dropped 5 percentage points for those living in families with married parents; and
  • dropped 6 percentage points for those living with a father only.

There was no statistical difference among children living with their mother only and among those living without a parent. For children living with their mother only, the smaller drop in homeownership may be because they were less likely to live in an owned home to begin with.

In general, while most children living in two-parent homes live in an owned home, there is a large difference between married-parent families and cohabiting-parent families. In 2014, three quarters of children with married parents lived in an owned home, compared with just one-third of children with cohabiting parents.

The majority of children who live with married parents, their father only, or with no parents (for example, they live with grandparents) are living in an owned home. In contrast, children living with parents who cohabit or with their mother only tend to live in a rented home.

Emily Schondelmyer is a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch.

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