According to the Census Bureau, homeownership in the US has dropped to just under 66% in the second quarter of 2011 — the lowest level since 1998.

That’s down 1% since the same quarter last year, and half a percent lower than Q1.

It’s highest level? About 69.2% in 2004, according to BankRate.com, which also notes:

The decline in homeownership seems to have hit black households disproportionately. The black homeownership rate peaked at 49.7 percent in the second quarter of 2004 and fell 4.9 percentage points, to 44.8 percent, at the beginning of this year. Over the same time, the white homeownership rate fell from 76.2 percent to 74.1 percent.

And DSnews.com — which covers the mortgage default servicing industry — writes:

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with the research firm Capital Economics says the increase in the homeownership rate seen during the housing boom has been more than completely wiped out by the bust.

And the decline is not even over yet, according to Dales. He says the poor economic climate, the double dip in house prices, the high number of foreclosures, and tight credit conditions are all reasons why the homeownership rate will continue to fall.