Across the United States, builders are often charged impact fees by local governments to help pay for infrastructure associated with children in new residential developments entering the public education system. Therefore, builders have an interest in ensuring that the number of school age children in new developments is accurately estimated. Local governments also benefit from this data because it can help better reconcile education costs.
Using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2015), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) tabulated the average number of school age children (defined as children between the ages of 5 and 18) in housing units. The tabulations also include breakdowns by different types of residential units, such as single-family detached and multifamily. It also includes breakdowns by household characteristics such as mobility and tenure.
The most prominent finding from the report is that, on average, there is less than one school age child per housing unit in the US: approximately 41 children per 100 housing units (all occupied units and vacant units). Other important findings from the analysis include the following:
- Owner-occupied units have fewer children than renter-occupied units: 45.6 children per 100 owner-occupied units compared to 49.6 children per 100 renter-occupied units.
- For most residential types, there are fewer children among households moving into new construction compared to those moving into existing units. In newly constructed single-family attached units there is an average of only 30.2 children per 100 units, compared to 45.2 per 100 existing units. In newly constructed multifamily developments, there is an average of 21.9 children per 100 units, compared to 26.3 per 100 existing units (as seen in Figure 3).
Figure 3: Average Number of Children in New and Existing Construction by Residential Development Type
- Multifamily units with 1 bedroom or less have the least amount of children compared to multifamily units with more bedrooms: 7.7 children per 100 one bedroom multifamily units, compared to 71.6 children per 100 three or more bedroom multifamily units.
- A regional breakdown shows that, on average, many states in the Northeast region, including Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, have the fewest number of children living in housing units.
For the complete report, including detailed tabulations of the average number of school age children in the US and by state, please click here: NAHB 2017 February Special Study.