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Slideshow: Housing a Changing America

The popular vision of the American household is inaccurate and outdated

Making Room: Housing for a Changing America

The slideshow below is adapted from Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, an 84-page, photo-filled publication based on a National Building Museum exhibition of the same name. Click the image above to learn how to order or download this free resource.

What does a home need to accommodate a young adult or a growing family and still be comfortable years later, when the nest is empty or the residents are older?

In the decades following World War II, the typical U.S. household consisted of a married couple with children. The suburbanization of the nation was driven by this demographic, fueled by prosperity, the automobile and the dream of home ownership.

Fast-forward to the 2010s, when adults living alone account for nearly 30 percent of U.S. households — and that’s a growing phenomenon across all ages and incomes.

The housing supply, no matter the locale, has been slow to meet the demands of this burgeoning market or respond to the needs of increasingly varied living arrangements.

As the following slideshow presents, unprecedented shifts in demographics are redefining who we are and how we live.


Sources for the statistics cited in this slideshow can be found on pages 8-15 of Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, published in 2019 by AARP and the National Building Museum. | Page published February 2019

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