- Rental is at its highest for half a century, with 43.7 million households currently living in rental accommodation.
- As many as 101 postcodes have moved to the majority of tenants over the past decade.
- Renters outpace owners in 41% of postal codes in the 50 largest US cities.
- Town centers have become more popular for renters in 2020 compared to 10 years ago.
- Of the new ZIP codes with the majority of tenants, 43240 in Columbus, OH has seen the fastest increase in tenants.
- San Antonio’s 78215 is the nation’s trendiest zip code for renters, tripling its renter population in ten years.
The American dream of home ownership has been rehashed over the past decade, with more tenant households than at any time in the past 55 years. Although renting was previously seen as an alternative brought about only by circumstance, a third of this decade tenants now say it’s a matter of choice. In fact, according to our previous study, a diverse set of 23 large and mid-sized cities transitioned from majority ownership to renters between 2010 and 2020.
This time, we asked ourselves how these changes could translate to the local level. So we put each of the 50 largest US cities under the microscope and analyzed the mix of renters and owners in each zip code. In a first-of-its-kind analysis that uses the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, we wanted to see which postcodes radically changed their structure. In other words, which zip codes do tenants prefer? In doing so, we found that 101 postcodes have moved to the majority of tenants over the past 10 years.
With the addition of these communities, renters represent the majority population in 41% or 632 of the 1,553 ZIP codes analyzed in the 50 largest US cities.
101 ZIP Codes Went From Homeownership Dream To Renter’s Heaven
The number of renters in the United States grew by 12% between 2011 and 2020, three times faster than the 4% increase in the number of owners, according to the latest estimates from the United States census. Thus, it is not surprising that during this period, as many as 101 postcodes have changed from the majority of owners to that of renters.
For this report, we’ve compiled all 101 postcodes into a list and ranked them from highest to lowest percentage change to get a better idea of where the biggest changes in the landlord/ tenant have taken place.
The first zip code on the list is 43240 in Columbus, OH. Approximately 68% of people living in 43420 Columbus are renters – following a whopping 157% increase over the past 10 years. A densely populated area, the ZIP code largely overlaps with the Polaris neighborhood, home to a community of young renters with a median age of 31. Residents here earn a per capita income of $43,000, which is 25% more than that of Columbus. metropolitan area, according to census data.
Next is Chicago’s 60606, which coincides with the West Loop neighborhood. In this area, the number of tenants has been multiplied by two and a half in a decade (151%). A thriving community that boasts a 63% renter population, its residents are mostly millennials and Gen Zers with high academic achievement.
Considered one of best neighborhoods for young professionals in chicago, the West Loop has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past two decades. Like a real Cinderella story, it grew from a shopping area to one ofbest neighborhoods to live in chicago.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia, PA leads the pack with the most neighborhoods that have transitioned to majority renters, with a total of seven ZIP codes, followed by Memphis, TN and Houston, TX with six ZIP codes each.
Zooming out, at the state level, Texas leads with the most neighborhoods that have changed. The Lone Star State recorded 17 in total, taking third place with ZIP Code 78256 (also known as San Antonio’s Northwest Neighborhood), which saw a 132% increase in renters in 10 year. According to the most recent census data, 56% of Northwest San Antonio’s population is a renter. Part of Bexar County, this neighborhood has been considered one of the best places to live in Texas, offering its residents a suburban feel with urban conveniences.
Postal Codes with the Fastest Growing Renter Populations: Downtowns are the Hottest for Renters
Many of the ZIP codes with the fastest growing tenant populations are located in city centers. Specifically, eight of the 20 neighborhoods that have increased their renter population by more than 80% over the past decade are in or near downtown areas. Likewise, our latest report on the best neighborhoods for building apartments showed a historic boom in central areas over the past five years – a timely response to the increased demand for rentals in these locations.
In that regard, San Antonio, TX is home to the hottest neighborhood for renters nationwide: the 78215 zip code in downtown San Antonio, which boasts an incredible 238% growth rate in the population of tenants. Here, the proportion of tenants has more than tripled, from just 735 in 2011 to 2,482 in 2020.
Downtown Miami is close behind, seeing a record 173% increase in the 33123 zip code. Nearly 10,000 renters live in Downtown Miami according to the latest census data. Meanwhile, 3,820 new apartments were built here between 2017 and 2021 in a bid to accommodate the growing tenant community, which is mostly made up of Millennials and Gen Z.
ZIP code 55415 — located in downtown Minneapolis, MN, — rounded out the top three with an impressive 162% jump in its tenant count. Downtown Twin City is more than twice as renter-friendly as it was in 2011. And Minneapolis as a whole clearly reflects the same trend, with renter households taking over the city.
Despite the growth central areas have seen over the past 10 years, the pandemic has created a temporary slowdown for city centers, many of which have remained vacant and desolate as workers move from office to home. As such, it remains to be seen whether a post-COVID world will lead to a second bounce – especially if the growing number of renters continues to suck life into city centres.
Meanwhile, three of the five cities with the most trending renter ZIP codes are in the South, with Houston, TX leading the way with a total of 16 ZIP codes. Dallas, TX and Miami, FL are close behind with 12 zip codes each. Breaking the Southern hold are Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL with 14 and 12 zip codes respectively.
ZIP Codes with the Highest Shares of Renters: 5 Neighborhoods Exclusively Occupied by Renters
In 2020, renters are the majority in 632 ZIP codes in the United States. In fact, in five US zip codes located in New York; Nashville, San Francisco; Dallas; and Fort Worth, the population is exclusively made up of tenants.
First of all, New York ZIP Code 10162 is one of five ZIP Codes where the entire population rents. A small zip code with less than 2,000 residents in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, 10162 is home to high-end buildings dating back to the 19th century.
Similarly, Nashville’s 37228 is another example of a tenant-dominated zip code, encompassing a small area on the north side of Nashville. According to 2020 census data, the ZIP code had a population of approximately 1,300.
Similarly, ZIP Code 94130 in San Francisco, also known as Treasure Island, is home to 2,100 residents, all renters.
Additionally, ZIP Code 75251 (located in North Dallas) has a 100% tenant share in 2020, with a 44% increase in residents since 2011. A small, densely populated area, Preston Hollow is mostly inhabited by young millennials, with a total population of just under 4,000. Here, rental units built primarily in the 1990s are mostly one-bedroom apartments, and the median household income is around $80,000.
Just 52 miles north of Dallas, we found the largest all-renter community in the United States: ZIP Code 76155. The number of renters here has doubled over the past decade, from a total of 2,600 to over 6,300.
Los Angeles, CA, however, is the city with the most ZIP codes (46) where renters make up the majority of the population, followed closely by New York, NY (44). For comparison, the cities with the least tenant-dominated ZIP codes are Colorado Springs, CO and Mesa, AZ, with only two and three zips, respectively.
- RentCafe is a national apartment search website that makes it easy for renters to find apartments and houses for rent in the United States.
- For this study, we looked at the number of renters and homeowners in 1,553 ZIP codes with a minimum population of 1,000 in 2011 and 2020 in the 50 largest US cities.
- To identify postcodes that have shifted to the majority of tenants, we considered postcodes where the share of tenants exceeded 50% in 2020, compared to 10 years prior. We then ranked them based on the increase in renter population in 2020 compared to 2011.
- The fastest growing postcodes are defined as postcodes with a minimum population of 1,000 in 2011 and 2020; a majority of tenants of at least 50%; and an increase in the percentage of renters of at least 1% above the city average and above the increase in owners.
- The list of postcodes with the highest share of tenants is made up of a total of 632 postcodes with one tenant a majority of tenants of at least 50.1%
- ZIP code boundaries are defined according to the US Census Bureau 2011 & 2020.
- The corresponding neighborhoods of the aforementioned zip codes have been mapped to the neighborhood boundaries on RentCafe.com.
- Data source for population and household tenure: 2020 US Census Bureau ACS 5-year Estimates – Table ID – B25008.
- Data source for city/postal code correspondence: simplemaps.com.
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