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Justin Fox

Are Millennials Finally Ready to Binge on Housing?

America’s largest generation has long struggled to gain a foothold in the housing market. There are signs of change even as many obstacles remain.

Millennials’ homeownership handicap.

Millennials’ homeownership handicap.

Source: Bloomberg

According to one Census Bureau survey, 2020 was the first year on record (going back to 1947) in which the number of households in the U.S. declined. According to another Census Bureau survey, 2020 saw the second-biggest increase on record (in this case going back to 1955) in the number of U.S. households.

This disagreement can be chalked up partly to the Covid-19 pandemic, which sent response rates to government surveys plummeting over the spring and summer, and also to the timing of the two surveys — the first was conducted in March and April, the second over the course of the year. But it turns out that estimating how many households there are in the U.S. is always hard. “For such a basic and fundamental measure, the number of households in the U.S. is largely a mystery,” three researchers from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies lamented in 2015.