According to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeownership in the U.S. declined steadily from the beginning of 2005 until the second quarter of 2016, bottoming out at 62.9%. Experts attribute lower ownership rates to a variety of factors, including higher home prices, increasing mortgage rates, and the rise of the millennial demographic, many of whom are saddled with student loan debt and cannot afford to buy homes.

Despite this decline, there have been signs of recovery in recent years. Between Q2 2016 and Q1 2018, the national homeownership rate grew to 64.2%. At the national level, the increase is statistically significant.

With economic and geographic differences across the country, Lattice Publishing wanted to see how homeownership varies by state. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Zillow, its researchers ranked the 50 states and District of Columbia by homeownership rate. When analyzing the change in homeownership rates over time, Q2 2016 was chosen as the point of comparison to today because it had the lowest rate since the national decline started in 2005.

The research indicates that states with large urban centers or most of its population living in urban areas tend to show lower homeownership rates than more rural states. In addition, lower median home prices tend to correlate with higher rates of homeownership (although there are outliers). Wide margins of error for state-level estimates make changes over short time periods difficult to quantify. For most states, recent changes in homeownership rates are not statistically significant — meaning, we can’t say with confidence that the observed changes are real, or instead, due to chance. That said, for some states the changes are significant.

Here’s where homeownership rates are rising (statistically significant), where they are highest (based on latest Q1 2018 Census release), and where they are lowest (also based on latest Q1 2018 Census release).

States where homeownership rates are on the rise

Photo Credit: Nickolay Khoroshkov / Alamy Stock Photo

1. Tennessee

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 70.6%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 68.5%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 9.8% (statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 54%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $226,933

Tennessee’s homeownership rate of 70.6% ranks 11th on the overall list, but has earned the distinction of improving the most from Q2 2016 to Q1 2018. The percent change from Q2 2016 stands at 9.8%, with a median home listing price of $226,933. Tennessee has a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities, with 54% of the population living in an urban area.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

2. Georgia

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 66.3%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 64.8%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 8.2% (statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 64%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $243,300

Continuing the trend of states in the Deep South experiencing the most growth in homeownership, Georgia’s homeownership rate rose 8.2% from Q2 2016 to Q1 2018. The current rate stands at 66.3%, above the national average. Despite its improvement in the past two years, Georgia remains in the bottom half of states by homeownership rate, ranking 29th.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

3. Mississippi

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 73.8%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 73.4%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 8.1% (statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 28%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $175,166

Mississippi’s homeownership rate rose a dramatic 8.1% from Q2 2016 to Q1 2018. Mississippi ranks 2nd overall in the country for homeownership rates, with the current rate at 73.8%. Mississippi’s 10-yr average homeownership rate of 73.4% is also the fourth highest in the U.S.

States with the highest homeownership rates

Photo Credit: Andrei Medvedev / Alamy Stock Photo

1. West Virginia

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 75.8%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 76.7%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 0.7% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 33%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $149,550

Topping this list, West Virginia has a homeownership rate of 75.8%. With only a third of its population living in an urban area and with a median home listing price of $149,550 (the lowest in the country), West Virginia fits the pattern of more rural states tending to have lower home prices and higher homeownership rates.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

2. Mississippi

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 73.8%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 73.4%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 8.1% (statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 28%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $175,166

In addition to being a state where homeownership rates are on the rise, Mississippi also has one of the highest homeownership rates in the nation. Mississippi’s median home listing price of $175,166 falls in the least expensive quartile nationwide. Similar to West Virginia, the vast majority of the population does not live in an urban area.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

3. South Carolina

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 72.9%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 72.3%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 6.1% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 56%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $239,965

South Carolina’s homeownership rate of 72.9% ranks third on the list. The $239,965 median home listing price is lower than the median home listings in surrounding states in the southeast, though it is also higher than states in the Deep South and the Midwest. Slightly more than half of South Carolina’s population lives in an urban area.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

4. New Hampshire

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 72.2%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 73.6%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: -2.2% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 43%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $283,233

New Hampshire’s current homeownership rate of 72.2% is the fourth highest in the country. The median home listing price of $283,233 is in the top half of states by home price, making New Hampshire a rare combination of high home prices and high homeownership.

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo

5. Vermont

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 71.6%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 72.9%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 1.4% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 14%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $251,633

Vermont’s homeownership rate of 71.6% is slightly lower than the 10-year average of 72.9%. Vermont is the most rural state in the country, with only 14% of the population living in an urban area. Despite this, the median home listing price in Vermont is $251,633, likely pushed up by vacation-home buyers.

States with the lowest homeownership rates

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

1. District of Columbia

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 39.8%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 43.2%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 0.3% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 100%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $545,967

With 100% of the population living in an urban area, the District of Columbia has the lowest rate of homeownership at 39.8%. The homeownership rate for the District of Columbia is more than 10 percentage points lower than the second-lowest homeownership rate of 50.9% in New York. Compared to the rest of the U.S, the nation’s capital has the second-highest home listing price, with Hawaii being the most expensive.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

2. New York

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 50.9%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 53.1%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: No change
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 80%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $371,267

With the second-lowest homeownership rate of 50.9%, New York also has one of the largest urban populations. High home prices, especially in New York City, mean that more inhabitants seek alternatives to homeownership, such as living with roommates or relatives, renting apartments, or living in subsidized housing.

Photo Credit: trekandshoot / Alamy Stock Photo

3. California

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 55.2%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 55.1%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 3.4% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 88%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $501,963

Although homeownership in California could be showing signs of growth, the Q1 2018 and 10-yr average home ownership rates are the third lowest in the U.S. at 55.2% and 55.1% respectively. As in New York, most of California’s population lives in urbanized areas, where home prices tend to be higher. The median home listing price of $501,963 is the third highest in the country.

Photo Credit: Andrew Zarivny / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Nevada

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 58.5%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 57.4%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 6.8% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 85%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $299,900

In Nevada, 85% of the population lives in urban areas such as Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City. The median home price tag of $299,900 is in the top quartile, and is consistent with the nationwide trend of urban areas having higher home prices and lower homeownership rates.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

5. Rhode Island

  • Homeownership rate Q1 2018: 59.4%
  • 10-yr average homeownership rate: 61.1%
  • Percent change from Q2 2016: 6.8% (not statistically significant)
  • Percent of population living in urban areas: 90%
  • Median home listing price Q1 2018: $284,667

Rhode Island’s homeownership rate is 59.4%. The smallest state by land area and the second most densely populated, Rhode Island is largely metropolitan, with 90% of the state’s 1 million inhabitants living in urban areas. The median home listing price of $284,667 also falls in the middle of the surrounding states in the Northeast.

Methodology & full results

Quarterly and annual homeownership statistics were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership dataset. State-specific homeownership rates for Q1 2018 and Q2 2016 were provided directly by the U.S. Census. The U.S. national homeownership rate declined from Q1 2005 to Q2 2016, when it reached its lowest point in recent years. As such, Q2 2016 was chosen as the point of comparison for this analysis. The Percent change from Q2 2016 was derived from the quarterly data referenced above. Percent changes were tested for statistical significance and noted accordingly. While many states showed variation comparing Q1 2018 to Q2 2016, only three states (Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi) were determined to have statistically significant increases. The 10-year average homeownership rate was derived from the annual data referenced above. The average covers years 2008-2017.

The Percent of population living in urban areas was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census (the most recent available data). The Median home listing price Q1 2018 is technically the average median home listing price for January, February, and March of 2018. Monthly data was sourced from Zillow.