Suburban Homes Still the Choice

And appropriately so—suburbs are the best way to live for families—according to this article in New Geography.

An excerpt.

The US preference for detached housing remains strong, according to the newest data just released in the 2014 American Community Survey, by the United States Census Bureau. In 2014, detached house and represented 82.4 percent of owned housing in the United States. This is   up 1.8 percentage points from the 80.6 percent registered in the 2000 census. The increase may be surprising, given the efforts of planners to steer people into higher density housing, especially apartments.

The US Situation in 2014

Among owned housing, mobile homes ranks second only to detached housing. Attached houses, which are ground oriented units with common walls, such as townhomes and semi detached homes (also called duplexes) are the third most popular form of owned housing, accounting for 5.7 percent of units in 2014. Perhaps surprisingly, the apartments planners prefer ranked fourth preference among households buying their own homes. Apartments, which include lower rise, midrise and high-rise condominiums account for 5.5 percent of owned housing. (Figure 1). The fifth, and by far the smallest category of owned housing is “Boats, RVs, Vans, Etc., which represented 0.1 percent of owned housing.

Trend Since 2000

There were approximately 4.7 million more detached houses in 2014 than in 2000. This means that 114 percent of the new owned housing stock was detached housing. Despite their second ranking among housing types, there were substantial losses in the number of mobile homes. In 2014 there were approximately 1.1 million fewer mobile homes and continuing losses could drop mobile homes below attached homes and apartments over the next decade. Mobile homes are often transitional for households aspiring to afford detached or even attached housing. Attached homes enjoyed a strong increase of approximately 410,000 units. The strong detached and attached housing increase could reflect, in part, the realization of those aspirations.

Apartments, which were within 15,000 of attached houses in 2000, dropped to approximately 270,000 behind, while adding only 160,000 owned units. In view of the strong condominium construction rates in some cities, this may be surprising. On the other hand, it could be indicative of the “dark and empty” thesis that many of the new units have been purchased for only occasional use and not as primary residences, some rented out by owners (Figure 2).

There was an 18,000 unit loss in “Boats, RVs, Vans, Etc.”

Retrieved October 27, 2015 from


About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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