Infographic: Owning a Home is a Dream for Many Immigrants, but Rates of Success Vary

(Photo: Miranda Shafer)

What impact do immigrants have on the housing market nationally and locally?

In January 2013 the U.S. Census reported that, “With nearly 1 in 7 U.S. households headed by someone who is foreign born, decisions made by immigrants and their families to purchase a home can have a measurable impact on the U.S. housing market.”

Read Camila Osorio’s article about Colombian immigrants investing in retirement property back home.

In New York City a smaller percentage of residents own their homes than the nation as a whole.  But the city’s immigrants are a driving force behind the demand for new housing, and have played a vital role in keeping the New York’s housing market alive. That said, there are huge disparities in rates of homeownership among immigrant groups, both in New York and nationally.

People from the Dominican Republic, New York City’s largest immigrant group, have the city’s the lowest rate of home ownership (8.2 percent). On the other hand, among city residents from Guyana (one of the top 10 immigrant groups in NYC) 51.9 percent own their own home.

The disparity between local and national housing trends is best illustrated by Mexican immigrants. Only five percent of Mexican immigrants in NYC live in a home they own; compared to the national rate: 45 percent of Mexican immigrants own their home.

It’s a complex issue and statistics only tell part of the story which is why we suggest reading some of the reports below. Jacob L. Vigdor.

Immigration and New York City: The Contributions of Foreign-Born Americans to New York’s Renaissance, 1975–2013, August 10, 2014. Thomas J. Waters, and Victor Bach.

Housing the City of Immigrants. Policy Brief. Community Service Society, March 2011.Arun Peter Lobo and Joseph J. Salvo.

The Newest New Yorkers: Characteristics of the City’s Foreign Born Population– 2013 Edition. New York City Department of City Planning, December 18, 2013. Edward N. Trevelyan, Yesenia D. Acosta, and Patricia De La Cruz.

Homeownership Among the Foreign-Born Population: 2011. American Community Survey Briefs., January 2013.

Infographics created with support from the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping at The New School.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation. The Fi2W Magazine was made possible in part by The Media Consortium and the Voqal Fund.

AboutMiranda Shafer
Miranda Shafer is a media studies graduate student at the New School. She has worked for WNYC as a production assistant for Selected Shorts and as a producer for the series "Talk to Me." She likes hot media and cold weather.