Ask any long-time Dallas resident, and they can tell you about the many ways the city has changed over the last ten years. Surely some of the most salient changes will be about who has moved in, who has moved away, and what it takes to afford to live here. These migration patterns are linked to the fact that renting is becoming an increasingly common way-of-life throughout Texas. But like Dallas itself, renting has changed from what it was a decade ago. Below, we dive into five of the most important ways that renting is evolving.
Due to geographical limitations in United States Census data, all of the following calculations apply to Dallas County, which covers the city of Dallas in its entirety plus parts of neighboring cities.
1. Today, more households rent than own
The past decade has precipitated a shift in the way American families pay for their housing. Across the country, homeownership has dropped to its lowest point in 50 years, and the switch from owning to renting has been particularly dramatic in the Dallas region, where population and cost of living have increased steadily. In the decade following 2008, the county added 89,733 renter households while losing 7,581 homeowner households. By 2017, the renter population (465,488 households) exceeded the homeowner population (463,590) and the gap may continue to grow as the affordability crisis puts homeownership out of reach for low-income families.
2. Today, there are 74% more renters earning six-figure incomes
Apartment List recently examined the nation-wide surge in high-income renters, a phenomenon driven by new demand for urban living and new construction of dense, renter-friendly, multi-family housing. Dallas metro ranks in the nation’s top-25 when it comes to high-income renter growth, and within Dallas County the number of renters with six-figure salaries grew 74% from 18,895 in 2008 to 32,926 in 2017. A majority of this growth took place during the post-recession economic recovery starting in 2010. Lower-income renters are also on the rise, but with notably slower rates of growth.
3. Today, seniors are the fastest-growing segment of the renter population
Dallas County’s renter population is growing across all age groups, but none faster than seniors ages 65 and older. While they still comprise a minority of the total renter bloc (5%), the number has grown 68% since 2008 and is reflective of the broader national trend in which elderly Americans cede the responsibilities of homeownership in favor of better access to services and age-appropriate amenities. Slow growth of the county’s youth renter population (just 9% over the decade) indicates that despite renting’s growing popularity, many parents are still electing to raise their children in owned homes rather than rented ones.
4. Today, there are over twice as many renters working from home
Non-traditional commuting patterns are becoming more popular across the country, and today the fastest-growing commute type is actually no commute at all. Specifically among renters in Dallas County, the number of adults working from home has more than doubled in the past decade, from 9,700 to 20,481. Among those who do leave the house for work, some sustainable commuting habits have become more popular (i.e., walking or riding a bike), while public transit use is down and private vehicle ridership is up.
5. Today, nearly 40,000 married couples rent their homes and live with roommates
The typical story of the American family was once a simple one: first you get married, then you buy a house, then you have kids and raise them in a yard circled by a white picket fence. Today, that story has changed. Being ready for marriage is no longer synonymous with being ready to buy a home, and many couples – by choice or by necessity – are sacrificing a bit of privacy to live in their preferred location. In Dallas County, there are 37,724 married couples who not only rent their homes, but also live with a non-family roommate. This non-conventional living arrangement is down from its peak of 45,822 in 2016, but is still significantly more common than it was a decade ago.