$930: Monthly Cost to Live In the Typical American Home

by Shilpi Paul

$930: Monthly Cost to Live In the Typical American Home: Figure 1
Is this Michigan Park house the average U.S. home?

What does a typical American home look like? How many households have a fireplace or central A/C?

Last week, the U.S. Census released information from an extensive study of households across the country (conducted in 2011). As first reported by the Atlantic Cities, the information offers a snapshot of the size and amenities of a home in the U.S. and how the average American lives in it.

With information taken from the results of the survey of occupied homes, here are a few of the more interesting facts that we found:

  • The median age of an American home is 38 years, built in 1974.
  • A plurality of people live in a two-story home with five total rooms, three bedrooms, and two or more bathrooms.
  • The median square footage is 1,800, with a lot size of .26 of an acre.
  • 35 percent of surveyed homes had a fireplace.
  • The overwhelming majority, about 80 percent, of the respondents had at least one car.
  • About 45 percent of the homes have a separate dining room.

Now, if you are reading this in DC, your jaw is probably now agape after reading those numbers, given the size of homes in our fair city. And so will this: Using data about home size and cost, Atlantic Cities created the typical U.S. home — a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,800-square foot abode with a median monthly cost (whether renting or owning) of $927/month.

See other articles related to: census

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/what_does_the_typical_american_home_look_like/6484


  1. Dana Hollish Hill said at 9:34 pm on Monday January 7, 2013:
    Shilpi - Yes my jaw has fallen. Unfortunately, many of the people who relocate here from somewhere else in America are shocked when they see our housing prices. It takes many buyers a bit of time to get over the shock. Not only that. Once they do, their relatives come for a visit and experience the shock as well. Dana Hollish Hill
  1. mona said at 9:51 pm on Monday January 7, 2013:
    It works the other way too. When you leave DC and move to some place like albuquerque you feel like you can afford the governors mansion
  1. saladman said at 11:04 pm on Monday January 7, 2013:
    Actually the governor's mansion is in Santa Fe. ;-&#123😉}
  1. SL said at 4:21 pm on Tuesday January 8, 2013:
    I think you also need to keep in mind that this is counting all homeowners, not just recent homeowners. I bet if you made this calculation for DC only, the number would be lower than what you expect. I think the cost of buying a home in DC has tripled in the last decade, but the median homeowner has likely been in their house maybe a decade or more.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!