Where Does Your State Fall in the All-American Smackdown Between Ranches and Cottages?

published Sep 12, 2019
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When you think of architecture by state, you probably think of Louisiana’s shotgun-style houses, New England’s quaint cottages, and New Mexico’s pueblo revival homes. But while each state has its cosmopolitan areas and vacation destinations, the majority of people live not in magazine-ready houses, but in small, affordable, and lovely ones.

Surprisingly, this shakes out to just two home types across the entire country. According to data provided by Google on the most searched single-family home styles, all states and territories (including D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands), had either a ranch or cottage home as the most searched. The only exception was Rhode Island, where the most popular style was a mansion.

This shouldn’t be surprising, as ranches have been popular for their affordable single-floor lifestyle since their inception in the 1920s and involvement in the post-war suburban boom. Because of this, they’re actually the most popular home style in America. However, when you look closely at where they are and aren’t searched for, it gets a bit more interesting: Ranch searches dominate the West and much of the Midwest, whereas cottage-style home searches are generally clustered in the East and South through the Appalachians (and absolutely in New England, so that particular stereotype seems to hold water). Historically, this makes a lot of sense: Cottage states are those that were heavily populated and developed earlier in the history of the U.S., and thus needed a compact home-style. And with few exceptions, ranches are popular in the states that came of age later in U.S. history, with more space to sprawl out because of increased transit issues (trains, subways, cars, etc.)

Interested in seeing where your state lands? Here’s how the data pans out:

States that favor ranch-style homes

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

States that favor cottage-style homes

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Are you team cottage or team ranch? How does that compare to where you live/grew up? Sound off in the comments!

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