Oct 5, 2019

U.S. household size rises for first time in more than a century

Credit: Pew Research Center

The average size of the American household has steadily declined since the 1850s, but new Census Bureau data shows the number of people residing in households has grown 6% since 2010, according to the Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: The upcoming decade is likely be the first to break a 160-year trend of smaller average U.S. households. "The increase in household size is significant because it could have implications for national economic growth," Pew writes. "Rising household size reduces the demand for housing, resulting in less residential construction and less demand for home appliances and furniture."

Yes, but: The increase in household size is beneficial for the household itself, if its additional members are working adults who can contribute to the overall income.

By the numbers: "In 2018 there were 2.63 people per household," writes Pew. That's up from 2.58 in 2010.

  • Since 2010, household populations have grown 6% and the number of households has increased more slowly at 4%.
  • By 2016, 20% of Americans were living in a multigenerational home, compared to 12% in the 1980s.
  • In 2019, 20% of house households are shared, compared to 17% in 2017. More Americans have opted for a shared household following the Great Recession.
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