A Return to Reason?

In the last century, the average square footage per person in American homes expanded faster than our waistlines! But the last year on record saw a decline in average total home size by approximately 300sf. Could this indicate a larger movement for the century ahead?

As illustrated in the images above and lower right, home sizes by the end of the 20th century were getting out of control. Even as far back as 1845, Thoreau was pushing a small, 150sf cabin for a single person. One hundred years later, in 1950, the average American home was still a modest 983sf (about 289 sf per person).

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However, home sizes more than doubled by 2007, to an average of 2,521sf. And the average square footage per person more than tripled to 970sf! This makes the drastic 300sf reduction in 2008 even more breathtaking. What remains to be seen is whether the shrinkage was temporary due to the recession or whether it indicates a change in direction. What do you think? What do you think is the ideal square footage per person?

We found this info at Inexpensive Home Building. Head on over there for a little more on the subject. Read more on 2008's marked downsize at CNN's The Incredible Shrinking Home.

(Images: Talking Tree, The Memory Store, Bacchus Homes, NPR via Inexpensive Home Building)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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