NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday showed the largest decrease in home ownership since the Great Depression from 2000 to 2010, though the overall rate remained the second highest on record.

Behind the year 2000, home ownership in 2010 was at its highest rate since home ownership data collection began in 1890. Despite the still-high rate of Americans owning their own homes, the rate actually decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 65.1% over the decade between 2000 and 2010, the largest drop since the 10 years between 1930 and 1940.

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Home ownership -- once a key fixture of the "American Dream" -- has lost some of its glory over the last few years as the real estate market imploded during the financial crisis.

The data showed housing inventory increased by 15.8 million units, or 13.6%, from 2000 to 2010, led by gains in the South and West. The largest percentage of homeownership rates were in the Midwest at 69.2%, followed by the South at 66.7%, the Northeast at 62.2% and the West at 60.5%.

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Even so, homeownership rates decreased in each region from 2000 to 2010, the data showed.

The largest cities in America saw homeowners outnumbered by renters in 2010, similar to the demographics a decade earlier, particularly in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

--

Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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