Study: Are Renters Stigmatized?

July 16, 2019

Nearly 30% of Americans believe that there is a negative social stigma against renters, according to a new survey from Apartment List. This belief is held by renters and homeowners alike.

“Some of what we found was surprising,” says Igor Popov, chief economist at Apartment List.

Apartment List surveyed more than 5,000 participants in June across the country. Some of the survey respondents referred to renters as “second-class citizens” who are “poorer because they cannot afford to buy a house” and who “waste their money when they should be earning equity in a home.”


Renters stigmatized chart

© Apartment List


On the other hand, nearly 90% of respondents equated homeownership with personal success and economic security. The majority believed that homeownership is a better financial decision than renting. Sixty-two percent of renters believe that by renting you are losing money, according to the survey.

The stigmas toward renting may be driven by perception and emotion, too. “Survey respondents frequently commented that they believe that renters are not invested in their community,” Popov says. “The word they often used was ‘transients.’”

The highest level of renter stigma was in areas where renting tends to be the most common—in large metro areas’ urban centers, the survey found.

“We were also surprised at how evenly renter stigma is spread across the population, among homeowners, renters, young, old, high or low income,” Popov says.