Annual Permits Per Capita: 2001-2021

    Population growth in the United States amounted to just 0.12% in 2021 (between July 2020 and July 2021), the slowest rate on record dating back to 1900. The sharp slowdown in population growth over the past two years is almost entirely due to pandemic-related factors, namely decreased birth rates, increased mortality and decreased net international migration.

    Thirty-three states registered a net gain in population during 2021, while 17 states and the District of Columbia contracted. On an absolute basis, Texas (310,288), Florida (211,196), and Arizona (98,330) gained the most residents. Several large states such as New York (-319,020), California (-261,902), and Illinois (-113,776) posted the largest declines in its population. On a relative basis, Idaho (2.9%), Utah (1.7%), and Montana (1.7%) expanded rapidly while the District of Columbia (-2.9%), New York (-1.6%), and Illinois (-0.9%) reported the sharpest percentage declines.

    In 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, builders applied for 1.1 million single-family permits, which is 13.9% higher than the 2020 level of 979,360.  At the state level, Texas (179,620) issued the highest number of single-family permits in 2021 followed by Florida (148,735) and North Carolina (68,636). The top 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 62.6% of the total single-family permits issued in 2021.

    Between 2021and 2022, 48 states and the District of Columbia saw growth in single-family permits issued. The District of Columbia recorded the highest growth rate during this time at 170.5%, going from 139 permits to 376, followed by Florida (+29.1%), and Maine (+25.3%). Maryland and Montana reported  declines in single-family permits during this time.

    In 2001, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, and North Carolina were the top 5 states with the highest number of per capita single-family permits.

    Ten years later, just after the Great Recession, North Dakota, South Carolina, Delaware, North Carolina, and Wyoming took the top spots for the highest number of per capita single-family permits.

    In 2021, Idaho had the highest number of per capita single-family permits issued as a result of domestic migration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. South Carolina, Utah, Delaware, and Florida round out the top five states in 2021.

    Below are the top 10 states with the highest number of per capita single-family permits in 2001, 2011, and 2021.





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    4 thoughts on “Annual Permits Per Capita: 2001-2021

    1. This is a very useful article and proves that homebuilding is much more of a series of state/local industries than a large national one.

      It would be interesting to know if the authors will see any trends or other observations of note when they compare these statistics to the ones in the US Census Bureau’s Characteristics of Housing. The 2021 version comes out in a few weeks time.

    2. Thanks, Stephen. We will publish a series of blog posts when the 2021 SOC data is released.

    3. Thank you for the information, Danushka.

      Would it be possible to provide access to the numbers for all 50 states? Perhaps a link to the information?

      In the future can expandable (pop-out) maps be posted so the numbers can be read? They have been used in NAHB posts in the past.

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