Changing Demographics, Changing Housing

Shifting demographics are changing the way people use and interact with housing.

"Nuclear families," defined as two parent households with children, traditionally comprised a large sector of the population. At a national level, demographics are shifting away from nuclear families. While nuclear families accounted for 43% of all households in 1950, that percentage decreased to just 20% of households in 2015. Pennsylvania and Chester County have both seen similar demographic changes.

The nuclear family household is being replaced by household compositions including one-person, couples without children, single-parent, parents living with adult children, siblings cohabitating, empty-nesters, and unrelated adults cohabitating.

An aging population is driving many of the demographic shifts. Due to medical and quality of life advancements, people are living longer and staying active longer. In the U.S., by 2030 one in five persons will be 65 and older, and by 2034 the number of older adults will exceed the number of children for the first time in U.S. history.1 Pennsylvania has one of the highest percentages of older adults in the U.S., with 17% of the total population aged 65 and older compared to 15% nationally, in Chester County 15% of the total population is 65 and older, comparable to the national percentage.2 Like the U.S., Chester County's senior population is projected to comprise 20% of the total population by 2030. The County's population of those 65 and older is anticipated to nearly double from 74,587 to 145,040 residents between 2015 and 2045. Longer lifespans are expanding the amount of housing needed, changing the type of housing needed, and decreasing housing turnover.


1. AARP, Making Room for Changes

2. ACS 2018 5-Year Estimates