The size of the American family has declined for decades. Yet, according to Pew Research, family size has begun to increase again recently and “the number of people in the average U.S. household is going up for the first time in over 160 years.” Nevertheless, the current figure is approximately half of what it was in 1790.
Why has the average size of an American family decreased? One reason is divorce, which has risen over time. About 2.9 out of 1,000 adults get divorced each year. Another factor is that Americans are having fewer children.
To identify the states with the smallest average family size, 24/7 Tempo consulted data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) one-year estimates for 2019. Average household sizes, households with children under 18 and total population were all drawn from the ACS. Family size per household was expressed fractionally, using decimal points, because it is computed by dividing the household population by the total number of households. A household population of 225,000 in a community of 135,000 households, for instance, would mean an average household size of 1.66.
The average number of people per household overall in the United States was 2.60 as of 2021. Utah claims the top spot with an average household size 3.08. More than two-thirds of the state’s population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Studies have shown that Mormons marry more often and have larger families than people of other faiths.
Maine and Vermont tied as the states with the smallest average family size. Here are the details:
- Average household size: 2.28
- Households with one or more people under 18 years:
- Maine: 23.9% (the lowest)
- Vermont: 24.3% (second lowest)
- Maine: 1,344,212 (ninth lowest)
- Vermont: 623,989 (second lowest)
Click here to see the size of an average family in each state.
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