Editor’s note: The following item is republished with permission of AOL Real Estate. View the original article.

By 24/7 WALL ST

The dream of owning a home has become increasingly unattainable for many Americans, and the situation is not likely to improve soon, as the collapse of the housing market and the recession continue to take their toll.

That is the disturbing conclusion to be drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau’s newly released report, "Housing Characteristics: 2010," an overview of the national home market at the end of the last decade.

One of the highlights of the report is a list of the states that have the highest and lowest percentage of homes occupied by their owners.

A review of the data by 24/7 Wall St., which offers analysis and insight for equity investors, found that homeownership rates were high in thinly populated states and those with low home prices, while homeownership was low in states with expensive homes and large cities.

5 states with highest homeownership rates
1. West Virginia
2. Minnesota
3. Michigan
4. Iowa
5. Delaware

Gallery: 5 States With The Lowest Homeownership Rates

5. Rhode Island4. Nevada3. Hawaii2. California1. New York

5 states with lowest homeownership rates
1. New York
2. California
3. Hawaii
4. Nevada
5. Rhode Island

The swing between the states with the highest and lowest homeownership is extraordinary. Just over 53 percent of the people in New York state own homes. At the other end of the spectrum is West Virginia, with a homeownership rate above 73 percent. In addition to New York City, New York state includes the relatively large cities of Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany. In West Virginia, by contrast, the two largest cities — Charleston and Huntington — are barely cities at all.

Together, they have just over 100,000 people in a state with 1.9 million residents. For this article, 24/7 Wall St. has primarily considered cities’ metropolitan areas, which are cities and their adjacent communities that, according to the Census Bureau, "have a high degree of economic and social integration" with the cities.

According to the report, in the last decade, homeownership in the U.S. dropped the most since 1940. The postwar housing boom lasted for over half a century as increased construction and liberal lending practices made homes affordable to a large majority of Americans.

Subprime mortgages stretched that ease of availability to the breaking point. When the market collapsed, so did the ability of many Americans to own homes because of tighter lending practices and fears that the market still has much further to fall.

The pattern of homeownership will probably not change much in the years ahead. People in large cities have opportunities to rent not available in suburban and rural areas. Home prices are low in states where the number of people per square mile is low. There is little supply in these states, but their populations are not large enough to create excessive demand.

The American dream of homeownership may have peaked around 2000. Much of the U.S. population is still in a struggle with high debt and stagnant income. And job security may not return to pre-recession levels for a number of years. Even if the reasons to own a home return with rising prices, the ability to buy one may not.

More from AOL Real Estate:

©2011 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription