NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Homes Grow While Families Shrink

January 19, 2000

Millions of Americans are living larger than ever -- based on the square footage of their homes. The average size of new houses has been steadily increasing while family size has been decreasing.

  • New single-family homes average 2,185 square feet compared to 1,500 in 1970, and the average floor area per person rose 77 percent from 427 to 756 square feet.
  • The increase in living space is related to the decreasing size of households -- with surveys showing only about 25 percent of households in the housing market today are married with children, compared with more than 40 percent in the early 1970s.

Rooms are bigger now, and there are more of them -- especially bathrooms and bedrooms. And there are more multi-story homes than ever. Last year, 52 percent of new houses had 2-and-a-half bathrooms or more, 33 percent had four bedrooms or more and about 50 percent had two stories or more.

By comparison, fewer than 25 percent of the houses built in 1975 had two stories, about 20 percent had four bedrooms or more, and only 20 percent had more than two baths.

Also, almost 80 percent of all new homes built in 1998 had a two-car garage, up from 50 percent in 1975.

Source: Katie Fairbank, "Moving on up: Convention to Cater to National Appetite for Bigger Homes," Dallas Morning News, January 14, 2000.


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