Tag Archives: Population


UPDATE JULY 17, 2024 – So far, no objections to what I wrote below. I wanted to add some data. According to Zillow, inventory is higher than last year in 48 out of the 50 Major Metropolitan areas. It rose last month in 45 of the 50 markets. If we are so short on housing, why aren’t all of the houses for sale bought instantly? How can the inventory possibly increase? And, no, it is not because of high (not really high, around where they should be) mortgage rates. Simply put, the forever housing shortage rant is a hoax. False information. Propaganda.

JULY 1, 2024 – Here is your chance to email me why NAR and the NAHB may be even remotely right about our housing shortage and why I am wrong. I researched the intraweb, as my step-daughter jokingly refers to it, and found that NAR has said we have a shortage of 4.5 to 5.5 million housing units. Their logic is the annual number of houses built since the Year 2000 has been below what was needed. To paraphrase Henry Ford, that is bunk.
Let’s look at some facts and some math. First, the demand for houses by 18-55 years olds today is about 25% (!) of what it was when Baby Boomers were the same age. Second, annual population growth has declined significantly from around 2% at the start of this century to 0.53% last year. I have seen as high as 0.7% in the past few years.
Yes, total population has obviously increased over time. But, it is not double or triple what it was 20 or 40 years ago. Demand for housing is about 1/3 to 1/4th of what it used to be. So, you cannot continue to forecast based on 1980s or 1990s rates. As I note in other posts, annual GDP of +3% or +4% has been replaced with a good-excellent range of +1% to +2%. Everything is slowing down and will continue to slow down for decades ahead.
To the math….As of today, the intraweb says we have 341,814,420 people. Let’s say last year’s growth rate was low and the 0.7% rates before that were high. We will use 0.6%. (I note that CoStar uses +0.5% annually for the next 5 years.)
That means this year’s population growth is about 2,050,000 people. Average household size was 2.53 people in 2020. It too has been declining for decades. Let’s assume it is down to 2.40 today. The math says we need about 850,000 new housing units for the upcoming years.
Laughingly, NAR says we need 1.8 million new housing units and since only 1.4 million are being built we will add to our shortage. In fact, based on real math, we will have an oversupply of 550,000 housing units brought onto the market this year alone!!!! Every report I see shows apartment vacancy rates are way up from 3 years ago (about doubled in past 3 years nationwide!) and new homebuilders have a crisis of oversupply. NO ONE but NAR suggests we are not building enough housing units.
So, here’s the riddle to me. If we are short millions of housing units, wouldn’t vacancy rates for SFRs and apartment properties decline each year? If we aren’t building enough units, wouldn’t vacancy go down? Wouldn’t we see people lined up to get into the next apartment or SFR unit that becomes available?
According to CoStar, the USA had 927,018 vacant apartment units in 2021. As of today, we have 1,544,497 vacant apartment units. Over 600,000 apartment units have become vacant in a period where NAR screams that every year we are increasing our shortage by hundreds of thousands of units. Where is the logic? This doesn’t even include our 10 million vacant SFRs! (BTW, this count does NOT include second/vacation homes.)
I have contended for years that if we didn’t build a single housing unit nationwide for 5-10 years we still would not absorb all of our vacant units.
I look forward to your thoughts. The one I will say that doesn’t work for me is the vacant units are not where the people want to be. Some may be. But, most of the new supply for decades has been in the Sun Belt where the greatest demand has been. And people can live anywhere and move anywhere (especially since 2020). A few units might be old and badly located. But, old product is removed from the stockpile annually.
I will leave this one at that. Depending on feedback, I might follow up with another post on the subject.
The Mann


AUGUST 16, 2023 – I might be the only one who has thought about this. Probably because my mind never stops and I love numbers:) So, let’s get to the numbers.
We currently have about 335 million people. Looking at the US Population Clock at Census.Gov we add 1 net person every 15 seconds. Just fyi:) That site also has a World Population Clock and we are nearing 8 Billion people. More trivia for you in case you are on Jeopardy!
According to the St. Louis Fed, our current Employment/Population Ratio is 60.4%. Therefore, we have about 202,340,000 employed people. Unemployment is 3.5%. I don’t know if the Employment/Population Ratio does or does not include unemployed people. So, let’s say we have about 7.2 million unemployed people.
For decades, I have seen reports of around 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs every month. I have wondered how do we maintain an unemployment rate of 3.5% or 5% or 7% or whatever when adding say 3 million new jobs per year would employ everyone in 2 or 3 years?
Way in the back of my mind I remember reading somewhere (and about 30+ years ago) that most of these new jobs are simply due to population growth and not really more people being employed. Finally, after 30 years of this sticking in my mind (yes, I do keep things on my mind for years and even decades), I decided today to do some math:)
To population we go. Let’s say the average age of people entering the workforce is 21 years old. Sort of an average of those starting at 18 years old and those graduating college at 23 years old and then going to work.
America’s population increased by 2,660,000 between July 1, 2021 and July 1,2022. Multiplying this by today’s 60.4% Employment/Population Ratio yields 1,606,400 jobs are needed this year due to population growth. This equates to 134,000 (Rounded) new jobs per month are simply needed to employ our increasing population. Therefore, it is only the amount above 134,000 per month that is actually existing positions being filled by existing workers.
And that is why the unemployment rate doesn’t go to zero in 1-2 years. Most of the new jobs are being absorbed by the new (young) people entering the workforce.
In 2023, monthly job growth has averaged about 270,000 through July. This is almost double the amount needed each month to address population growth. That is a healthy amount of new jobs being absorbed by the existing population.
And many of you are now saying that was 15 minutes of my life I won’t get back lol The takeaway is when down the road monthly job growth slows to around 135,000 per month you will know that basically we are not adding any jobs. We are simply keeping up with population growth.
Hopefully, the next thing I think of to post about will be a bit more interesting:)
Stay cool out there.
The Mann