Where Renters Live - And Don't Live
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Gallatin County's cadastral data provides the name and address of every property owner in Bozeman. By looking at where a parcel's tax bill gets sent, we can identify which parcels are owner-occupied. If we assume the other parcels are renter occupied, we can quickly begin to get a sense for city-wide patterns in homeownership versus rentership.
For example, the areas around MSU exhibit high levels of rentership (orange), especially to the northwest of campus:
South of Kagy Boulevard, the situation is quite different, with nearly all homes being owner-occupied:
What's the point of this? Mostly, it's just fun (from a civics nerd standpoint) to explore this data, but here's one take-away: this is partially a map of who has political representation. 55% of Bozeman residents rent, yet (per my analysis) three out of four people who vote in November's municipal election will be homeowners. If representation is proportional to participation, Bozeman's homeowners get 3x more representation in city decision making than renters. I'm not sure that's right or wrong, but it's certainly worth pondering.
In my view healthy neighborhoods have a mix of both owners and renters. Neighborhoods that are almost exclusively owner-occupied risk becoming exclusionary enclaves, while neighborhoods dominated by rentals have fewer anchor points to the fabric of the neighborhood and community.