Change in US House Square Footage Over Time

Quote of the Day

You always have prior information before you do an experiment, because something motivated you to do the experiment.

— Data Science Facts twitter feed. I view this statement as support for the Bayesian approach.


Figure 1: New House Square Footage in the US vs Time.

Figure 1: New US Housing Square Footage vs Year.

My wife and I are about half-way through the construction of a 2100 square foot home in northern Minnesota. This weekend, my neighbors and I were talking about the area of houses being built today, and no one in the conversation had any data. I grabbed my computer, jumped on the Internet, and very quickly found data from the Census Department that answered my question. Like most census information, the data is in the form of screwy tables that need to be parsed to get into a form that can easily be plotted. This exercise gave me another excellent example to use when I train staff on the use of Excel's Get and Transform tool. Figure 1 was the result of my search. For those who are interested, my workbook is here.

Figure 1 provides some interesting information:

  • The size of new US housing is rising over time.
  • The Great Recession (2008) saw a minor dip in the trend of larger housing.
  • House sizes are now larger than before the Great Recession.
  • My new house is considered mid-range in size.

The Census Department actually breaks the data down by region of the US: West, Midwest, South, and Northeast. Figure 2 shows a panel chart with all the data. The biggest home are being built in the Northeast. The smallest homes are being built in the Midwest, where I live.

Figure 2: New US Housing Square Footage By Region and Year.

Figure 2: New US Housing Square Footage vs Region and Year.

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One Response to Change in US House Square Footage Over Time

  1. B Hart says:

    Midwestern homes typically have basements, which are (usually) not counted towards published square footage. Is it possible that this is why the reported square footage seems smaller than the other regions (rather than Midwestern sensibility)?

     

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