Growth in the number of U.S. households during the 2010s slowed to its lowest pace in history, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released 2020 census data. The 2020 census counted 126.8 million occupied households, representing a 9 percent growth over the 116.7 million households counted in the 2010 census. That single-digit growth was more anemic than the prior record low percentage growth of households (11 percent) during the previous decade, as shown in the 2010 census.

From 2010 to 2020, the number of households increased by 10.1 million—fewer than in any decade from 1950 to 2010. For example, in the 1970s, when the adult population was much smaller, the U.S. added 16.9 million households.

The subpar growth in households over the last decade matters because household formation has implications for the broader economy. It can impact the demand for housing and stimulate both single family and multifamily construction. Associated with that is spending for durable goods such as furniture and appliances. The slowdown in economic growth over the 2010s is partly a reflection of weak household formation and low levels of home building.

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