More U.S. households are headed by renters than at any point since 1965, according to a new Pew Research Center study based on data from the Census Bureau.

The number of renters has “increased significantly” in the past decade, and those less likely to rent, such as whites and the middle-aged, have grown more likely to rent in recent years, the report said.

While the number of U.S. households grew by 7.6 million over the past decade, the number of homeowners remained flat, largely because of “lingering effects of the housing crisis,” according to the report. At the same time, the level of renters now exceeds highs set in 1986 and 1988.

The demographics of renters also are changing, the report said.

While young adults under the age of 35 continue to be the most likely to rent, the rental rate among those ages 35 to 44 is up 32 percent since 2006.

Black and Hispanic households remain more likely to rent, but all major racial and ethnic groups — including whites — are more likely to rent than a decade earlier, the study found. The rate of renting by households headed by a college graduate also has increased since 2006, from 22 to 29 percent.

A 2016 Pew survey aimed to explain why rental rates have surged so much in the past decade.

It’s not that home ownership is “undesirable” to today’s renters, the survey said, but rather financial reasons — across all demographic groups — have kept renters from becoming homeowners. Roughly two-thirds of renters in Pew’s survey said they currently rent as a result of circumstances, compared with 32 percent who said they rent by choice.

A majority of those surveyed — 72 percent — said they would like to own a home.

The new study’s findings are reflected in Chicago’s housing market, where the surge in new construction has been primarily in apartment buildings. In the Chicago area, more than 70 percent of residents owned homes before the 2008 housing crisis. At the end of 2016, the homeownership rate had fallen to 65.5 percent, according to Appraisal Research Counselors.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that more U.S. households were renting than buying.


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