While married couples continue to make up the majority of households in Virginia, the number of households with single people without children is on the rise. According to the Census Bureau, there were 188,760 more households in 2022 than in 2019. The number of couple households has increased by 5% since 2019, whereas the number of households that consist of people living alone has increased by 7%. This increasing trend of single people living alone has been seen in most of the metro areas in the state. According to the most recent census data, single female households make up most of the demographic of single people who live alone in Virginia.

Across the U.S., the average number of people per family has been declining since 1960. According to the most recent census data, there were about three people per household in Virginia from 2018-2022, which is relatively close to the current national average. The trend for couples with children under 18 in the commonwealth has increased slightly from three years ago (+3%).

Nonetheless, the majority of Virginia’s households consist of couples without children, which could be an indicator of the state’s declining birth rate. According to the Weldon Cooper Center, Virginia has had its slowest growth rate since the Civil War over the last two years. In 2019, there were 27,000 more births than deaths throughout the state. Fast forwarding to 2022, this number has dropped drastically to 13,000. There are many factors as to why couples are having fewer children.

The minor increase in the growth rate also stems from the out-migration trends in the state, as people are leaving Virginia to find more affordable places to live.

Cohabitation has become more common among young adults in recent years. According to the Census Bureau, in 2022, there were 221,705 cohabiting couples in Virginia, a noticeable difference from 176,118 in 2019. Most of these cohabitant households did not have children living with them.

The number of single-parent households has increased slightly since 2019 but continues to make up the smallest share of households in Virginia.

It is important to know the common household types in your market so you can understand your clients’ needs. For example, it would seem that the desire for a bigger home would decline as the average family size drops, but that isn’t the case. The median size of a newly constructed single-family home in the U.S. was 2,299 square feet in 2022, which is 20% bigger than in 1990. Data trends of young adults still living with their parents, as well as an increasing number of remote jobs, have been considered to be a factor as to why people continue to desire bigger homes even though family sizes are declining.

For more information on housing, demographic and economic trends in Virginia, be sure to check out Virginia REALTORS® other Economic Insights blogs and our Data page.