Single-Family Building Focused around Baby Boomers: Multifamily is Millennial Focused


NAHB analysis of county level permit data and demographic data indicates that single-family home building in the first quarter of 2023 is occurring mostly in counties where baby boomers make up a majority of the population.

The Census Bureau provides county level population age estimates in 5 years intervals. For example: 0-4, 5-9, 10-14 through 85+. Using these estimates, we can segment county populations into six distinct generations and determine which generation has the highest population share in each county. The generations used in the analysis are defined as follows: Generation Alpha (Ages 0-9), Generation Z (10-24), Millennials (25-39), Generation X (40-54), Baby Boomers (55-74) and the Silent Generation (75+).

Based on the Census data, the Baby Boomer generation has the majority share of population in 2,605 counties. Surprisingly, Gen Z already has the majority share of population in 335 counties while millennials are the majority share in 179. Gen X, the often-overlooked generational group, is the majority share of population in a mere 24 counties. The silent generation and Gen Alpha make up the majority share in no counites.

Single-family home building since 2016 has predominantly been in areas where Baby Boomers are the largest present generation. Below is the single-family home building market share by dominant-generation-by-county dating back to 2016.

The Boomer market share has been increasing since the fourth quarter of 2019, when it stood at 52.6% of the single-family construction market. As of the first quarter of 2023, the Baby Boomer market share has increased 5.5 percentage points to 58.1% market share. All other generations have lost market share by this measure over the same period, with Millennials market share falling from 29.1% to 24.7%, Generation X falling from 4.6% to 4.3% and Generation Z falling from 13.7% to 12.8%.

Despite millennials making up the majority share of population in just 179 counties, these counties have the largest market share of overall multifamily building. Since 2016, counties where millennials make up the largest share of population have been the leaders in multifamily building with their market share never falling below 52.0% over the 7-year span. As of the first quarter of 2023, areas where millennials make up the largest share of population accounts for 52.3% of multifamily home building. Baby Boomers make up the next highest market share at 35.5% while Generation Z has a market share of 9.4%. Generation X has the smallest market share of only 2.8% of the multifamily building market.

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1 reply

  1. Interesting article highlighting the shift in single-family building towards baby boomers and multifamily construction catering to millennials. This shift in focus should be considered when assessing the demand for construction loans.

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