Rent or buy: Rental density by ward

Metropolitan Tenants Organization rental unit percentage map, Chicago

A new report issued today by the Metropolitan Tenants Organization finds that rental households still constitute half of the Chicago’s homes and constitute a majority of housing units in more than half of the city’s wards. More than half of the city’s 1.3 million renters are “rent-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

I’ve only skimmed the report, which focuses primarily on the ways policy makers and advocates can address rental issues nationwide, but the pages that made me perk up and take notice were those that featured ward maps related to rentals and foreclosures in the city. The two maps above are two of the simplest: The one on the left looks at the percentage of rental units by ward in 2000, while the one on the right looks at rental percentages from 2007.

The relatively large outlying wards skew the visual impact slightly — I’d like to see the same type of map broken down by community area or neighborhood, just for comparison — but they still give you an idea of where apartments and owner-occupied units are most prevalent these days.


  • Is there a distinction between rental houses vs. apartments?

  • Levois,

    Renter-occupied units include both homes and apartments.

    I’d caution anyone looking at these maps to remember that a number of ward boundaries changed significantly as a result of redistrictring following the 2000 census.