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America's fastest-growing group of renters: Senior citizens

  • Renters older than 60 jumped 43 percent in the past decade, the RentCafe study found
  • Austin, Phoenix and Fort Worth had the biggest boost in renters over the age of 60
  • By 2035, seniors will account for nearly one-third of the U.S. rental market 

People older than 60 are increasingly choosing to rent, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by national apartment-search website RentCafe.  

Renters over the age of 60 who live in cities of at least 100,000 surged 43 percent during the decade ending in 2017, the study found. By comparison, the number of renters among people between 35 to 59 -- largely members of Generation X -- rose 17 percent. Renters under the age of 34, or millennials and members of Gen Z, rose just 7 percent, the analysis found.

Older people aren't as enthusiastic about owning a home as their children age and leave, pushing the move to rent, RentCafe said, citing its own earlier studies. As more baby boomers retire, it's likely the number of older renters will continue to swell: By 2035, renters older than 60 will comprise 31 percent of the rental market, compared with 18 percent in 2007, RentCafe predicted.

By comparison, renters between 35 to 59 years old are likely to remain stable through 2035, at about 43 percent of the rental market. Americans under 34 will drop to 27 percent of the rental market compared with 34 percent in 2017.

Demographic factors

Half the 10 cities with the biggest rise in rental demand from older Americans are located in Texas, led by Austin at 113 percent. 

Demographics may factor into the shift in Texas and in other warm-weather states. More people are moving South and West within the U.S., the report noted. At the same time, the number of new births in the U.S. overall is slowing, dipping to a 30-year low in 2017, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. 

It's also now more affordable to rent than buy in 9 of 10 U.S. counties with more than 1 million residents, a recent analysis by property research firm ATTOM Solutions found. 

Here are the 10 cities with the biggest increase in over-60 renters from 2007-2017:

  • Austin, Texas: 113 percent
  • Phoenix: 112 percent
  • Fort Worth, Texas: 95 percent
  • Jacksonville, Florida: 83 percent
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: 66 percent
  • Dallas: 62 percent
  • Houston: 61 percent
  • San Antonio, Texas: 59 percent
  • Louisville, Kentucky: 58 percent
  • Denver: 52 percent