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New Census Stats Help Detail Mass. Housing Crunch, Diversity

This article is more than 11 years old.

New statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau are giving a more detailed look at how deeply the housing crunch has hit Massachusetts and how shifting racial and ethnic lines are making the state a more diverse place to live.

Some of the most revealing numbers are helping to illuminate changes in homeownership in the state, including a significant shift in the age of Massachusetts homeowners.

A decade ago, about 34 percent of all Massachusetts homeowners were aged 25-44. By 2010, just 26 percent of homeowners were in the same age group.

At the same time, older residents have come to account for a much larger percentage of the state's homeowners.

In the 2000 census, 40 percent of homeowners were aged 45-64. A decade later, the same group accounted for 48 percent of all Massachusetts homeowners.

The number of Massachusetts homeowners aged 65 or over increased slightly over the decade but still accounted for about 25 percent of owners of occupied homes in both surveys.

The census also shows how the mortgage crisis has hit hard in Massachusetts as it has across the nation.

In 2000, the number of vacant housing units in Massachusetts stood at about 6.8 percent of the total housing units in the state. By 2010, the number of vacant housing units in Massachusetts had climbed to 9.3 percent.

The percentage of those vacant housing units up for rent has also jumped from about 19 percent in 2000 to more than 25 percent in 2010.

The census showed important shifts in the state's racial and ethnic profile, as well.

In 2000, white residents accounted for more than 84 percent of the state's population. By 2010, whites had fallen closer to 80 percent of the total Massachusetts population of 6.5 million.

While black residents climbed from 5.4 percent of the population a decade ago to 6.6 percent in 2010, the fastest growing group were Hispanic and Latino residents, who saw their numbers increase from 6.8 percent of the population in 2000 to 9.6 percent of Massachusetts residents in 2010.

Those of Puerto Rican descent made up nearly half of the Hispanic and Latino population in the state in 2010.

Asians also saw their number grow over the past 10 years, from 3.8 percent of the population in 2000, to 5.3 percent in 2010.

While their numbers are growing there is a still a significant homeownership gap for black and Hispanic residents.

Although they make up close to 10 percent of the state's population, only 3 percent of Massachusetts homeowners are Hispanic or Latino, who account for more than 14 percent of renters.

The numbers are similar for blacks.

Even though they make up more than 6 percent of the population, just over 3 percent of the state's homeowners are black while more than 10 percent of the state's renters are black.

By comparison, while whites make up 80 percent of the state's population they account for 91 percent of homeowners and just 73 percent of renters.

The census numbers also show a gradual shrinking in the ratio of men to women as the population ages.

While there is virtually the same number of men as women at age 18, the ratio drops to 94 men for every 100 women by age 39 and down again to 89 men for every 100 women by age 65.

This program aired on August 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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