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Opinion
Justin Fox

Smaller Households, Bigger Houses, Smaller Lots

New U.S. construction data reveal a nation of people who think they need lots of bathrooms.

Land? What land?

Land? What land?

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The average U.S. household is 24 percent (or 0.82 people) smaller than it was in the early 1960s. This downtrend has flattened out a lot since the Great Baby Boomer Move-Out of the 1970s, and household size has even on occasion gone up for a year or two — sometimes due to recessions keeping young people with their parents and sometimes due to data revisions, although last year saw a slight uptick perhaps caused by millennials finally getting married.  Still, there are markedly fewer Americans per house or apartment than there were a few decades ago.

Despite this, the median new single-family house completed in the U.S. in 2017 was 59 percent bigger than it was in 1973.