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WaPo | How much bigger are U.S. homes?


The Census Bureau keeps information (PDF) on the median square footage of new homes, which you can divide by average household size to get average space per person. The EU, by contrast, counts (PDF) “useful living space,” of which there will presumably be lower than the total square footage figure. Keeping in mind that the U.S. figure is thus a bit inflated, here’s how the U.S. stacks up with various other countries:

If anything, how little ahead the U.S. is from Denmark or Sweden surprised me. The McMansion stereotype of the U.S. holds up a bit, but the average American doesn’t have that much more space than a Dane, especially if you consider the total space/useful living space distinction. The Census Bureau also keeps very good data on how regions of the U.S. compare, and how they compare over time. Here’s how homes in different parts of the country have grown since 1973:


Interestingly, the Northeast was out ahead for a long period, ahead of Midwestern states that one might expect to have more space for big homes. With the crash, though, things are evening out as all regions’ square footage tumbles.  From Ezra Klein – Research Desk responds: How much bigger are U.S. homes?.

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