Are American Homeowners More Satisfied With Their Lives Than Renters?

Masanori Kuroki, Arkansas Tech University


Researchers often find that homeownership is not associated with life satisfaction in the United States. Using the 2009–2010 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, this study examines whether homeowners are more satisfied with their lives than renters in the following eight states: Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wisconsin. A positive relationship between homeownership and life satisfaction (approximately 0.06 points on a 4-point scale; p <.01) is found, even when whether respondents are worried about having enough money to pay their rent or mortgage is controlled for. However, the positive effect of homeownership declines as the local house prices increase, indicating that homeowners in expensive areas tend to be less satisfied with their lives than homeowners in more affordable areas.