Falling household size and its effect on metropolitan population growth and density

Patricia Gober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In determining metropolitan population size and changes therein, urban theorists traditionally have focused on the number of occupied dwelling units or households and have assumed that these households are equal in size. This paper argues that average household size is an indicator of how intensively the housing stock is utilized and that there is substantial variation in household size across SMSAs in the U.S. The experience of 150 SMSAs is examined for the time period 1960 to 1970. The study model attributes varying household size to differentials in birth and divorce rates, racial composition and age of housing. Ramifications of recent household size declines involve the internal spatial organization of metropolitan areas and the Census controversy with cities over alleged undercounts of urban populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalThe Annals of Regional Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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