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Well-To-Do Americans Prefer Renting Than Buying

Business and technology hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have the highest numbers of wealthy renters.

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Nationwide, more than 1.35 million households making at least $150,000 per year became renters between 2007 and 2017. Pixabay

Although they can afford to purchase a home, more well-to-do Americans are choosing to rent instead.

The number of U.S. households earning at least $150,000 annually that chose to rent rather than buy skyrocketed 175 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to an analysis by apartment search website RentCafe, which used data from the Census Bureau to reach its conclusions.

This new breed of renters challenges long-held assumptions that Americans rent a place to live primarily because they can’t afford to buy a home.

“Lifestyle plays an important part in their decision to rent,” study author Alexandra Ciuntu told VOA via email. “Renting in multiple cities at once has its perks, and so does changing one trendy location after another.”

FILE — A new apartment building on Mission Street in San Francisco, one of 20 U.S. cities with the most significant increase in the number of wealthy renters.
A new apartment building on Mission Street in San Francisco, one of 20 U.S. cities with the most significant increase in the number of wealthy renters. VOA

Business and technology hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have the highest numbers of wealthy renters.

“Given the escalating house prices, it seems like a verifiable better decision to go with renting for longer,” Ciuntu said. “Given that in San Francisco, for example, $200,000 buys you just 260 square feet, it’s understandable why top-earners give renting a serious try before deciding whether to invest in a property or not.”

In fact, in both San Francisco and New York, wealthy renters outnumber well-to-do buyers. There are more high-earning renters — 250,000 — in New York City that anywhere else in the country.

FILE — Penthouse view in New York City, where wealthy renter-occupied households have doubled in the last decade. (Photo by Flickr user Carlos Pacheco via Creative Commons)
Penthouse view in New York City, where wealthy renter-occupied households have doubled in the last decade. (Photo by Flickr user Carlos Pacheco via Creative Commons. VOA

“Ten years ago we would have associated real estate equity with life stability, whereas the two are not necessarily interrelated nowadays,” Ciuntu said. “Renting proves to be a more flexible option for those enjoying a dynamic and rich lifestyle. From a more millennial standpoint, this is no longer a brief solution before settling down, but rather an attractive world of possibilities.”

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However, this rental enthusiasm doesn’t mean folks in the wealthiest brackets are rejecting homeownership, according to Ciuntu. Between 2007 and 2017, Chicago added 9,800 more wealthy owners than high-income renters, Seattle gained 13,400, and Denver added almost 18,000 more well-to do earners than wealthy renters. (VOA)

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Measles Cases in US Continue to Rise, With Most New Cases in New York

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports outbreaks in 24 states

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Measles Cases, US
FILE - Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, New York, March 27, 2019. VOA

Federal health officials report 41 new cases of measles across the U.S. last week, bringing the number of total cases for the year to 880 — the highest number recorded since 1994.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports outbreaks in 24 states, with only the very Deep South and Northern Plains spared.

The CDC says outbreaks in several states, including California, Georgia, Michigan and New York, are linked to travelers who are suspected of bringing back the virus from countries with large measles outbreaks, such as Israel, the Philippines and Ukraine.

The CDC recommends vaccinations for everyone older than 12 months, except those who already had the disease as children and have become immune.

Measles Cases, US, New York
Federal health officials report 41 new cases of measles across the U.S. last week. Pixabay

The virus has spread among school-age children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them. Parents who do not vaccinate their children often cite religious beliefs or the concerns the vaccine may cause autism or other health problems, despite scientific studies that have debunked such claims.

The World Health Organization says parents who refuse to inoculate their children against such diseases is one of the top 10 threats to global health.

The measles vaccine, first available in the 1960s, is considered safe and effective by most public health experts, who say that it also can save lives.

The measles virus is highly contagious and is spread primarily by coughing and sneezing.

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It is still a common disease in many parts of the world. It was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000 with only a handful of cases reported in the U.S. most every year since then.

Last week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) released an update on measles activity in the Americas. It said 12 countries have reported cases in 2019: Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, the U.S., Uruguay, and Venezuela. (VOA)