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Publication Date

December 2005

Author(s)

Client/Funder

Ford Foundation

Large demographic differences exist between the owners and renters, and these differences will have to be accounted and controlled for in subsequent work; however, the addition of a “matched” renter panel to the homeowner panel of Community Advantage Program participants will be a valuable tool in the overall evaluation of the social and economic impacts of homeownership on lower-income households.

This paper presents preliminary findings from the Center for Community Capitalism’s baseline survey of low-income renters. Over time, this sample will serve as a comparison panel for our panel of low-income homeowners in our evaluation of the Community Advantage Program (CAP) . The renter sample was drawn to be comparable along key dimensions to our owner panel. This paper describes and compares the two samples.

Because of its preliminary nature, this paper is limited to the presentation of descriptive, univariate statistics, which means we do not employ statistical controls that may account for and help explain variations in renter/owner responses. Subsequent papers and analyses will use the two panels to help explore the impacts of homeownership on low-income populations.

The paper begins with a description of the Community Advantage Program and the survey data collection methods and status. It then compare renters and owner demographics, including respondents’ age, race, education, marital status, household size, and employment status. This is followed by a comparison of CAP owners and renters in areas such as health insurance coverage, debts and assets, and measures of social capital and parenting. Finally,  it compares demographic profiles of the two groups to national low-income households using the Census Bureau’s 2003 American Housing Survey, and  presents conclusions.

Summary of Findings

There are substantial demographic differences in age, race, education, marital status, employment, and income between the CAP owner panel and the low-income renter sample. Corresponding differences also exist in household assets and liabilities. One of the more interesting findings is that, despite their large differences in demographics and assets, the CAP owners and the low-income renters display similar trends in terms of neighborhood friends, interactions and social ties.

Overall, these comparisons indicate that large demographic differences exist between the owners and renters, and that these differences will have to be accounted and controlled for in subsequent work. However, researchers continue to believe that the addition of a “matched” renter panel to the homeowner panel of CAP participants will be a valuable tool in the overall evaluation of the social and economic impacts of homeownership on lower-income households.


Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Community Advantage Program, Impacts of Homeownership, Mortgage Finance