Inexpensive Home Building

Cut through the jargon and nonsense of home building and house construction by starting from zero dollars and trying to figure best-value bang-for-your-buck when choosing construction methods or construction materials. My research might answer some of your questions and at other times perhaps you have the knowledge or experience to post the answers to my questions and thereby help others too. The goal is an affordable and sustainable home for all.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

House Square Feet Per Person: Surprisingly Little Needed

You only need about 150 square feet per person (150sqftpp).

150sqftpp is a core or baseline that was not unusual for over a century in America until the strange McMansion culture of the late 20th Century and 21st Century housing bubble.

Source: NPR

Average Square Feet of US New Single Family Home (NPR, Census Dept., medians slightly lower)

2007 = 2,521
2000 = 2,266
1990 = 2,080
1980 = 1,740
1970 = 1,500
1960 =
1950 = 983

1947 = 750*

* 1st Levittown model, Cape Cod style, 1947, 750 sqft (not US average)

The explosion of space occurred as families shrank and "household size" shrank (divorces and living alone) so the change in square feet per person is even more stark.

Square Feet Per Person
(various examples, not all US average)

2007 = 970 (2,521sqft/2.6 people)
1954 = 125 (1,000sqft/8 people, Levittown ad)
1950 = 289 (983sqft/3.4 people)
1947 = 208 (750sqft/3.6 people)
1845 = 150 (150sqft/1 person, Thoreau)

Note how similar the per-person space was for 110 years 1845-1954 but the 2007 consumption is 3 TIMES to 8 TIMES more.

Next: The how and why of efficient square feet per person:
Efficient HVAC Plumbing: Levittown Family of 5 in 750sqft: Inexpensive Floor Plans Part 3