Millenium Park Chicago

Rural Versus Urban, Average Age of Homes, and Much More

Recently we received a research request from a member regarding national housing statistics and thought this presented a great opportunity to highlight some wonderful, *free* resources for housing and household statistics. For this project we researched answers to the following questions:

  • How many rural versus urban households are in the United States?
  • What is the average income of rural versus urban households in the United States?
  • What is the average age of homes in the United States?

Thanks to the US Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau we were able to answer these questions in record time. If we had naming rights to United States’ National Treasures, Census Bureau would top the list.

Let’s start with the first question “How many rural versus urban households are there in the United States?” The US Census Bureau’s annual Income, Poverty & Health Insurance: Coverage in the United States report holds our answer. According to this report (see “Residence” section of Table 1, on page 6), in 2011 the United States saw 101,526,000 residences “inside metropolitan statistical areas.” In case you are not familiar with the term, Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is another way of saying urban metropolitan area. In 2011 the United States saw 19,558,000 residences “outside metropolitan statistical areas” (i.e. rural).

Next, we tackle the question of average income of rural versus urban households in the United States. Income data is found in a variety of places, including the Census Bureau’s Income, Poverty & Health Insurance report, American Housing Survey, and American Fact Finder database. In the same “Residence” section of the Income, Poverty & Health Insurance report referenced above, we find the median family income for 2011 for all households of $50,054, where residences within MSAs show a 2011 median income of $51,574 and residences outside MSAs show $40,527.

Last we take a look at the average age of homes in the United States. For this we turn to the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, most recently published in 2011. The Survey’s “Introductory Characteristics Table 2-1” offers 1974 as the median year of structure built for all total owner-occupied units.

We’ve covered a couple Census Bureau gems, but keep in mind there are many more. We recommend exploring the American Fact Finder database when you next have a little down-time to find oodles of great statistics.

Kate

Information & Web Content Specialist at the National Association of REALTORS®

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