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Q: types of housing in U.S. over time ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: types of housing in U.S. over time
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: rnd13-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2002 12:19 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2002 12:19 PST
Question ID: 94491
I am looking for statistics on changes in types of housing used by the
population of the U.S. over time.

Specifically, I would like to find out the breakdown of what
percentage of the population currently lives in houses vs. condos vs.
apartments, etc. -- and then, get one or more other sets of data
points over the last century, for comparison purposes.

(Clearly, at least two sets of data points are necessary, as the
purpose is to make a comparison of trends.)
Subject: Re: types of housing in U.S. over time
Answered By: bethc-ga on 31 Oct 2002 15:54 PST
Hi rnd13-ga,

The US Government Census Bureau is a wealth of information, both
current and historical, on housing and housing trends. This is what
makes it such a valuable resource, and at the same time such a
difficult resource from which to extract information. The sheer amount
of information amassed in the decennial census process is staggering.

The first housing census was taken in 1940, so that will be our
earliest data point. The Census Bureau has compiled the historical
data by decade, of course, as that is the frequency of the census. So
that means that we will have seven data points for comparison
purposes. The reports reflect US data, and then are further broken
down by state, should you be interested in that level of detail. As
housing concepts and terms have changed, and as the information
collected has varied, the Census Bureau has attempted to make the data
comparable in so far as that is possible. The table is annotated to
reflect this.

“The types of homes Americans live in have changed over the past 50
years. On a percentage basis, one-family detached houses had their
heyday in 1960, when they made up over two-thirds of the total housing
inventory. Since then, detached houses have steadily declined; by
1990, they made up a bit under 60 percent of the inventory.

“One-family attached houses (rowhouses, townhouses, and duplexes)
increased a little from 1980 to 1990, but their share of the inventory
was highest in 1940, at the time of the first housing census. Units in
small apartment houses with 2 to 4 apartments had their high water
mark in 1950, when they made up almost one-fifth of the total housing
stock. By 1990, they had shrunk to less than one-tenth of the

“Units in larger apartment buildings of 5 or more apartments have
become increasingly more popular in recent decades. Note the big
increase in these types of units from 1960 to 1980.

“However, the biggest story is the explosive growth of mobile homes.
In 1940, they were a mere afterthought, lumped into the "Other"
category with boats and tourist cabins. By 1990, mobile homes made up
7 percent of the total housing stock.”

The information in the tables are shown for the number of housing
units in structures of specified type and size, not by the number of
buildings of each type. After each type of housing (single detached,
single attached, 2-4 unit, 5+unit, mobile home and other, etc.), you
will find the number of units of that type, and the percentage.


1-unit, detached 	69,865,957  60.3% 
1-unit, attached 	6,447,453   5.6% 
2 units 		4,995,350   4.3% 
3 or 4 units 		5,494,280   4.7% 
5 to 9 units 		5,414,988   4.7% 
10 to 19 units          4,636,717   4.0% 
20 or more units 	10,008,058  8.6% 
Mobile home             8,779,228   7.6% 
Boat, RV, van,etc.      262,610     0.2%


1, detached		60383409  59.0%   
1, attached		5378243   5.3%      
2 to 4			9876407   9.7%      
5 or more		18104610  17.7%   
Mobile home             7399855   7.2%         
Other			1121154   1.1%


1, detached		53595586  61.8%		 
1, attached		3587019   4.1%		 
2 to 4			9681832  11.2%			 
5 or more		15478306  17.8%		 
Mobile home             4401056   5.1%	 
Boat, tent, van         14918   0.0%


1, detached		44800684  66.2%				 
1, attached		1989867   2.9%				 
2 to 4			9006950  13.3%						 
5 or more		9828696  14.5%				 
Mobile home             2072887   3.1%

1, detached		40103346  68.8%					 
1, attached		3655210   6.3%					 
2 to 4			7551865  13.0%						 
5 or more		6237798  10.7%						 
Mobile home             766565   1.3%	


1, detached		29115698  63.3%							
1, attached		2798632   6.1%					 
2 to 4			8676183  18.9%							
5 or more		5077667  11.0%						 
Mobile home             315218   0.7%


1, detached		23730637  63.6%						 
1, attached		2835176   7.6%						 
2 to 4			5723658  15.3%							
5 or more		3928298  10.5%							
1-4 with business	940726   2.5%	
Other			166975   0.4%


1990 data are for all housing units.
The "other" category was intended to be living quarters such as
houseboats, railroad cars, campers, vans, and caves.  This category
was far overstated; see the "boat, tent, van, etc." category below for

1980 counts are restricted to "year-round" housing units -- seasonal
and migratory vacants were excluded.

1970 counts are restricted to "year-round" housing units -- seasonal
and migratory vacants were excluded.
In 1970 and earlier censuses, mobile homes had to be occupied to be
counted as housing units.

1, attached units in 1950 include row houses (3 or more attached
houses) and semi-detached (2 units side-by-side);  in the latter case,
the units might not be completely separated (a complete wall from
basement through attic).

1, attached units in 1940 include row houses (3 or more attached
houses) and semi-detached (2 units side-by-side);  in the latter case,
the units might not be completely separated (a complete wall from
basement through attic).
Other" units in 1940 include trailers, tourist cabins, and boats whose
occupants have no other usual place of residence.

The entire report, including all state numbers for all years, can be
viewed below. I apologize in advance if the formatting does not
survive the posting of this answer. We have very limited formatting
capabilities, but the full report is nicely formatted and can be
referenced if these numbers are at all difficult to read.

Source for historical data (1940-1990):
Historical Census of Housing Tables
Units in Structure

Source for current census data (2000):
DP-4. Profile of Selected Housing Characteristics:  2000

Additional historical information related to housing has been compiled
by the Census Bureau. From the link listed below, you can view reports
similar to the Units in Structure report above on a variety of
subjects such as: Ownership Rates, Recent Movers, Home Ownership,
Vacation Homes, and many other topics.

Housing Then and Now
50 Years of Decennial Censuses
Should you require any clarification of any of the above, rnd13-ga,
please do not hesitate to ask. Good luck on your project.



Search criteria:
US Government Census Bureau
housing data
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