A Significant Narrowing of the Gender Gap in Home Ownership Rates

A new study by the Urban Institute documents a narrowing of the gender gap in homeownership rates. Today, the homeownership rate of households headed by women has reached 63 percent — just 5 percentage points below the men’s rate. This gap has narrowed significantly since 1990, when the homeownership gap between households headed by men and households headed by women was 20 percentage points.

In 1990, 33 percent of households were headed by women; now, it’s more than half. This change is mainly driven by the share of female-headed married households, which rose to 43 percent in 2021, up from only 8 percent in 1990. A female-headed, married-couple household is where the woman is the primary wage earner. Some 80 percent of female-headed married households and 81 percent of male-headed married households are homeowners.

Among never-married households, a 6 percentage-point female-male homeownership gap held steady between 1990 and 2021. Despite making up a higher share of college graduates, single female household heads still have substantially lower incomes and are more likely to raise children than single male household heads. Since single women households are more likely to have children than their male counterparts, many single women could face greater difficulty saving for a down payment for a house because of the greater expenses of supporting their families. Lower earnings and the costs of caring for children may be one of the reasons for the ongoing gender homeownership gap among never-married households.

The full study, “Unmasking the Real Gender Homeownership Gap,” may be found here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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