Too much room: Growing number of Sacramento "empty nesters" living in big houses

Published: Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 - 9:41 am

One extra bedroom is great for company. Two extra bedrooms can be handy around the holidays. But a growing number of two-person households in the Sacramento region now live in homes with at least three extra bedrooms.

Roughly 530,000 of the region's residents, usually married couples, live in two-person households, according to the latest census figures. More than one in five, or 117,000, of those residents live in homes with four or more bedrooms.

The proportion of two-person households living in large homes has doubled since 1990.

Two factors are largely to blame. The aging of baby boomers has left a growing number of "empty nesters" in homes large enough to accommodate children. And the real estate market during the recession left many older couples unable to sell their "underwater" homes and move into something smaller.

At the same time, also largely due to the recession, almost 200,000 Sacramento residents now live stuffed in homes with more than one occupant per room. (That's per room - not per bedroom.) These families mostly struggle with rent, which remained high throughout the recession.

In other words, the region has both a growing number of households with too much space and a growing number of households with too little space.

This illustration shows the breakdown in number of bedrooms for two-person households in the Sacramento region.

Click here to view on certain mobile devices
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey

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