Equity Residential was founded in 1969 by Sam Zell (the current Chairman of the Board) and Bob Lurie. The two had been managing student apartment buildings at the University of Michigan and decided to create a business out of it.
The company went public in 1993 and has paid a cash dividend to investors every year since that time.
In 2001, Equity Residential became list in the S&P 500, the first apartment building company to do so.
Today, the company owns wholly or in part, over 550 apartment buildings in 23 US states. The Equity Residential corporate office is located in Chicago, Illinois.