How Has the Average Size of American Homes Changed over Time?

The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s, despite the fact that the average family size has steadily dropped. In the 1950s, the average house measured about 1,000 square feet (about 90 square meters) and housed three or four people. Since then, the average house size has grown to about 2,500 square feet (about 230 square meters), and the average house is home to two or three people.

More about house and family sizes:

  • The average global family size is about five people per household, a number that the U.S. hasn't reached since the 1800s.

  • Americans don't actually have the market cornered on large houses — the nation with the largest houses in the world is Australia, with an average house size of about 2,600 square feet (about 245 square meters). The country with the largest family size is Iraq, with an average of eight people per household, followed by Pakistan and Yemen, each with about seven people per household. (

  • Scandinavian countries tend to have the smallest family sizes, with an average of two people per household in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The smallest houses in Europe are found in the U.K., where the average new family house is about 800 square feet (about 76 square meters). One of the developed countries with the smallest average house size is Japan, with an average size of 160-215 square feet (15-20 square meters)

Frequently Asked Questions

What has been the trend in the average size of American homes over the past few decades?

Over the past several decades, the average size of American homes has generally increased. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average size of a new single-family home was about 1,660 square feet in the early 1970s. By 2015, this number had risen to around 2,687 square feet, reflecting a significant growth in living space. However, in recent years, there has been a slight decline, with the average size dropping to about 2,531 square feet by 2020. This trend indicates a shift in preferences or economic factors influencing home size. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

How does the average size of new homes in the United States compare to that in other countries?

When compared to other countries, the average size of new homes in the United States is considerably larger. For instance, European homes are typically much smaller, with countries like the United Kingdom averaging around 818 square feet for newly built homes. This stark contrast highlights the cultural and economic differences that influence home size preferences and standards globally. (Source: BBC News)

What factors have contributed to the change in the average size of American homes?

Several factors have contributed to the change in the average size of American homes over time. Economic growth and an increase in consumer wealth have allowed for the construction of larger homes. Additionally, changing family dynamics, a desire for more space and luxury, and the evolution of home design trends have played significant roles. However, factors such as energy efficiency, land costs, and a growing interest in minimalism and sustainability are influencing a recent trend toward smaller homes. (Source: National Association of Home Builders)

Are there regional differences in the average size of homes within the United States?

Yes, there are regional differences in the average size of homes within the United States. Generally, homes in the South and Midwest tend to be larger, while those in the Northeast and West are smaller on average. These variations can be attributed to factors such as land availability, population density, climate, and regional economic conditions. For example, the expansive land in the South allows for larger homes to be built at a lower cost per square foot. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Has the trend towards larger homes affected housing affordability in the United States?

The trend towards larger homes has indeed had an impact on housing affordability in the United States. As homes have increased in size, so too have their prices, making it more challenging for first-time buyers and those with lower incomes to afford a home. The demand for larger homes with more amenities has driven up the cost of construction and the price of land, contributing to the overall increase in housing prices. This trend has significant implications for the housing market and economic inequality. (Source: The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University)

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