Lots of interesting data coming from the 2010 U.S. Census. Several things caught my eye:
1. The U.S. birthrate is at an all-time low, or at least an all-time low since statistics have been kept. The recession has had an impact, but the trend towards fewer children started way before.
A recent USA Today article has several good birth rate related stats:
- the share of households with children dropped from 36% in 2000 to 33.5%.
- There are now more households with dogs (43 million) than children (38 million).
An interesting article on this topic is The Future is Lonely: Why I'm Only Having One Kid. I found this article depressing on several levels, but it does a nice job of summarizing the reasons U.S. birthrates are unlikely to increase as the economy recovers.
2. Average U.S. household size is growing. By this we mean number of people per dwelling, not the actual physical size of the household (the average physical size of U.S. dwelling units is shrinking). The number of people per household rose slightly from 2000 (2.62) to 2010 (2.63). There are still fewer people per household than in the past. In 1950, for example, the average household had 3.67 residents.
Immigrant families are one driver of the recent increase. They tend to have higher birth rates than native born and are more likely to embrace multi-generational households.
The poor economy is also leading to increases in both related and non-related people choosing to live together. Also, the need for aging parent care and/or child care is also resulting in more multi-generational housing, which also leads to an increase in the number of people per dwelling.
The composition of U.S. households is going through a massive change. Ozzie and Harriet are long gone, replaced by a diverse multi-cultural, multi-lifestyle mix of non-traditional households.