Share Of Empty Nest Households Reaches New High

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April 20, 2017

Zillow reports that the share of empty nest households has surged over the past decade to a new all-time high. In 2015, 15.5 percent of U.S. households (18.3 million total) were empty nests, which are single-family homes with no kids. The rate is up from 11.9 percent (13.2 million total) in 2005. Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland were among the markets with the most empty nests.

The places with the lowest densities of empty nests include booming cities with strong job markets (e.g., Austin, Texas; Phoenix, San Francisco and Dallas), new family-oriented communities (e.g., McAllen, Texas; Provo, Utah; and Riverside, Calif.), and retirement communities (e.g., Fort Myers, Tampa, and Orlando, all in Florida).

Additionally, another 3.6 percent of households (4.3 million total) are considered near-empty nest, where the home would be an empty nest if the adult child were to move out on their own. Near-empty nests tend to be concentrated in areas that are low on affordability and that have weak labor markets.

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