Census: Housing bust worst since Great Depression

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- New census figures show homeownership over the past decade saw the biggest drop since the Great Depression.

The analysis released Thursday by the Census Bureau found the homeownership rate fell to 65.1 percent in 2010, from 66.2 percent in 2000. That drop-off of 1.1 percentage points after the housing bust is the largest since 1940, when the rate plummeted more than 4 percentage points over a 10-year period, to 43.6 percent.

Analysts say the notion of homeownership as the "American dream" may be changing. Many economists believe the U.S. will never return to its mid-decade peak, in which roughly 70 percent of occupied households were owned by their residents.