Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 18,569 households were renting privately in Barnsley when the census was carried out in March 2021 - 17.2 per cent of the 108,053 households in the area.
At the time of the previous census in March 2011, 12.8 per cent of households were private renters - meaning that the share has increased over the past decade.
Across England and Wales there are now five million private renters, up from 3.9 million in 2011.
Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of the housing campaign Generation Rent, said these tenants are ‘paying high rents to private landlords, face a much greater risk of living in a poor-quality home, and live with the threat of eviction at short notice’.
He added that despite the government recognising the need for reforms in the sector - such as abolishing so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions - it is yet to introduce legislation to properly support private tenants.
Separate figures from the ONS and the Valuation Office Agency show that median private rent in Yorkshire and The Humber was £575 a month as of March 2021 - up 26.4 per cent from £455 in June 2011 - the earliest comparable figures.
Shelter, a charity that tackles homelessness, said the ‘only lasting solution’ to the housing crisis is to build more social homes.
It pointed to a waiting list of more than a million households for social housing across England, saying that social housing is lost every year to sales and demolitions.
Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity, said: “It’s time for the government to invest in a new generation of good quality social homes with genuinely affordable rents pegged to local incomes.”
Across England and Wales, there has been little change in the amount of social housing in the past decade - while the number of households in social homes increased from 4.1 million to 4.2 million, the proportion actually fell, from 17.6 per cent of households to 17.1 per cent.
The census figures also suggest it may be getting harder to get on the housing ladder.
The number of households owning their home through a mortgage, loan or shared ownership has dropped across England and Wales, from 7.8 million in 2011 to 7.4 million last year.
The same was true of Barnsley, where the share of households with mortgages or shared ownership fell from 34.2 per cent in 2011 to 29.9 per cent last year.
A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities said: “Ensuring a fair deal for renters remains a priority for the government, that’s why we will deliver on our commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and introduce a Renters Reform Bill in this Parliament.”