In the midst of the worst economy in a generation, the apartment housing contributed to $1.1 trillion to the national economy, according to a report from the National Multi Housing Council and the National Apartment Association.
According to the report, apartments support 25.4 million jobs and apartment residents spend more than $420 million in expenditures for goods and services, including apartment furnishings, moving and cleaning costs and more.
No, it's not just owner-occupied housing that contributes to economic growth. The apartment industry spent $14.8 billion on construction of 130,000 units in 2011.
The industry also spent $67.9 billion to operate and improve the nation's 19.3 million apartments - more than four times the amount spent on construction.
And, of that $420 million apartment residents spend on goods and services, 70 percent remains in the local economy.
See for yourself. A new web site, WeAreApartments.org, uses an interactive map to break down the data, state by state and by 12 select metro areas.
The website's Apartment Community Estimator also allows users to enter the number of apartment homes in an existing or proposed community to determine the community's potential economic impact for the state.
Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis says attention is usually focused on homebuilding and the single-family sector, when it comes to the economic impact of housing.
But the annual construction and operating outlays for apartment buildings also are major sources of economic activity, jobs and personal earnings, say Fuller.
When you rent an apartment you also help the economy grow.