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Household Growth Will Be Slower,
According to New Projections

Monday, March 4, 2019

Between 2018 and 2028, the number of households in the United States is projected to increase by 12.2 million, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). This figure is 1.4 million less than the household growth projected by JCHS a few years ago.

Why the decline? The primary reason for the decline is that the Census Bureau issued new population projections, updating its 2014 vintage with a 2017 series. The Census Bureau’s 2017 projections forecast slower population growth than the earlier series, says Daniel McCue of the JCHS and author of the report. The bureau's population projections form the basis of the JCHS household projection series.

Change in number of households by
age of householder, 2018 to 2028 (in 000s)

  number (in 000s)
Total households 12,174
Under age 25 21
Aged 25 to 34 64
Aged 35 to 44 2,855
Aged 45 to 54 -401
Aged 55 to 64 -1,513
Aged 65 to 74 4,361
Aged 75 or older 6,787

As shown above, the greatest growth in the number of households in the decade ahead ­­– accounting for more than half the increase – will occur in the 75-plus age group. Households headed by people aged 45 to 64 will decline as the small Generation X passes through. Very little growth is forecast in the number of households headed by adults under age 35.

Behind the Census Bureau’s scaled back 2017 vintage projections – and behind the slower household growth forecast by JCHS – is lower immigration. Rather than gaining a net of 1.27 international immigrants per year during the coming decade (the assumption of the bureau’s 2014 projections), the annual gain will be just 1.0 million. Fewer immigrants will slow the growth of the Asian and Hispanic populations and reduce the number of young adults establishing households in the years ahead.

Because of lower immigration, the JCHS projects that the total baseline demand for new housing in the 2018-to-2028 decade will be 1.51 million units a year, down from 1.69 million a year projected in its earlier series. The report cautions, however, that the new projection may not be conservative enough: “Given the strong steps taken by the Trump administration to curtail immigration, it remains to be seen whether there will be further declines going forward.”

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