Only about 7 million of California’s roughly 40 million residents own their homes, the lowest rate of home ownership in the United States, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Ruby Home Luxury Real Estate, analyzed U.S. Census data to determine the rate of home ownership across the country.

Residents in Maine have the highest rate of home ownership at 32.71%, while California is on the opposite end of the spectrum at only 18.35%.

For California residents struggling to make ends meet, the news is probably not particularly shocking.

The Golden State has some of the most expensive cost of living in the nation, and a lack of inventory on the real estate market, in conjunction with rising costs from soaring interest rates and the lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, has left the dream of home ownership just that: a dream.

California has a lower rate of home ownership than Hawaii and New York, two other states with famously high cost of living, with Alaska and Nevada rounding out the top five.

 State Population Total Housing Units Total Occupied Units Owner-Occupied Housing Units Rate of Own Home Ownership 
1 California 39,557,045 14,512,281 13,394,835.36 7,260,000.77 18.35% 
2 Hawaii 1,420,491 564,908 473,392.90 275,041.28 19.36% 
3 New York 19,542,209 8,531,063 7,481,742.25 4,010,213.85 20.52% 
4 Alaska 737,438 327,890 269,197.69 172,286.52 23.36% 
5 Nevada 3.034.392 1,305,509 1,184,096.66  716,378,48  23.61% 

Top five US states with the lowest home ownership rate 

California’s 39.5 million people are estimated to occupy 13.5 million housing units. Only 7.26 million of those housing units are occupied by their owners, signalling that the majority of California residents are renting from someone else, and many of them are living with roommates or family members.

A spokesperson for the study said California’s population and “demographics of the state” makes home ownership more complicated for Californians who want to own a home.

With such low rates of home ownership, it might not come as a surprise that California’s population has declined for three straight years, according to Census data.

Data released last month showed that California had an estimated loss of 343,000 residents who moved out of the state from July 2021 to July 2022.

Those who moved out of California in pursuit of home ownership might want to give Maine a serious look. West Virginia (No. 2), Vermont (No. 3), Wyoming (No. 4) and Missouri (No. 5) might also be good options, the study shows.