More than half of US renters are 40 and older

The majority of U.S. renters are now 40 and older, a fundamental shift over the past decade that reflects the lasting damage of the housing crash and an aging population.

This finding in a report released Wednesday by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies overturns the assumption that the rental boom is only the result of twenty-somethings flocking to hip urban centers. Single-family houses are a growing share of rentals. And affordability problems are mounting as rents rise faster than wages, while apartment construction increasingly targets tenants with six-figure incomes.

Nearly 51 percent of renters have celebrated their 40th birthday, according to the report's analysis of Census Bureau data. That amounts to 22.4 million households.

A decade ago when the housing bubble peaked in 2005, 47 percent of renters — or 16.4 million households — were older than 40. Their share was 43 percent in 1995. Read More