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Santa Clara’s Renter Majority Future

Chances are if you ask someone on the street in Santa Clara if a majority of residents own or rent, they’ll answer “own.”

But the fact is that between 2006 and 2016 Santa Clara became a majority renter city. From 49.5 percent of residents in 2006, renters now make up almost 57 percent of Santa Clara’s population, according to U.S. Census numbers compiled by online rental search and services company RentCafe.com.

During the last decade Santa Clara’s population grew by 15,515, RentCafe reports, but the number of homeowners dropped by 2,235. That follows a national trend, which saw the U.S. population grow by 23.7 million during the last decade and the number of renters during that time increased by almost the same number, 23 million, according to census data.

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In the Bay Area, Santa Clara’s neighbor Sunnyvale has been a majority renter city since at least 2000, with the percentages—47 percent owners, 53 percent renters—remaining stable over that time, according to census statistics. San José, by comparison, remains a homeowner majority city where 57 percent of its residents own their own homes.

Only one member of Santa Clara’s City Council is a renter—Patrick Kolstad—and two Council Members—Patricia Mahan and Teresa O’Neill—live in homes that have been in their families for two generations or more. There are no renters on the Planning Commission.

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