Across the nation, renters account for more than one in three residents of occupied housing units, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But here in Southwestern Connecticut, the rate is a little bit lower at 28.8 percent.
If we were to compare the national rate of renters with the rate in a local community, Norwalk would be the one town in Southwestern Connecticut that comes closest to sharing the national profile. In Norwalk, 34.9 percent of occupied housing units are home to renters, while 65.1 percent are home to owners, making the city just slightly more renter-heavy than the nation, which hovers at 33.9 percent.
While there’s nothing incredibly out of the ordinary about the number of percentage of renters in Southwestern Connecticut when compared to the national figures, the growing share of renters in towns like Norwalk is climbing at a much faster rate than it is nationally. In 2005, only 38.6 percent of Norwalk’s occupied units were home to renters, but an addition of thousands of units to the rental market between then and 2011 helped push Norwalk ahead of the national average.
Similarly, other local cities have seen their rental rates increase at a faster rate than the rest of the nation between 2005 and 2011, according to census data, including Bridgeport, which has climbed from 51.1 percent to 55.4 percent and Stamford, which inched up a bit more slowly from 42.3 percent to 43.6 percent.
But what is it that keeps the overall share of renters in our area so low when such a large share of residents in the area’s biggest cities are renters? It’s those tiny towns, holding down the fort for owners. Fourteen of the 31 towns in Southwestern Connecticut have an 85 percent share of owners or greater, including the town of Easton, where only 2.6 percent of residents are renting.