If anyone has ever driven through an area where the home ownership percentage is lower than the national average they will in most cases also see a lower than average concern for the condition and upkeep of the properties in that area. Regardless of the size and scope of the research project, state, city, zip code, neighborhood or street the results will be the same 99 times out of 100.
Cars are left to the elements, paint withers and flies off with the wind and we sit back and ponder and wonder why no one takes pride in their homes. It is precisely because the home is not theirs. The mortgage is not their responsibility. The upkeep is not their concern. Someone else will take care of it. If it gets too bad they will find a place in slightly better condition, if only for the period of time required to render the next property uninhabitable.
This was the sales pitch to the public for the Affordable Housing Act that got so many of us in financial hot water. The pitch that preaches that home ownership is the cornerstone of safe, clean and stable neighborhoods. What was left out of the sales pitch and is rarely brought to the conversation is that the pride of ownership is only part of the equation. An unspoken factor in the equation is the fear of losing what one has toiled in the pursuit of and worked to acquire. Without the fear of losing something the pride of ownership is also reduced because we are not standing apart from the masses so there is little to be proud of.
My wife refers to the areas of the country that have low numbers of home ownership and therefore less investment in maintaining the homes in the area as “The land of burning car carcasses” which illustrates for me the idiom that people don’t respect what they have not earned.