According to U.S. Census Bureau data, as reported in the Mercury News, California ranked No. 2 last year for crowded housing. It came second only to Utah. In California, there are 2.8 people for each housing unit, and in Utah, there are 2.9. Hawaii ranks No. 3 for crowded housing, at 2.6 people per residence.
California built more residences than any state in the country last year, but this lead in new housing construction did not keep pace with the state’s population growth, which was 6 percent. By comparison, the growth in new homes was just 4.3 percent.
Only Texas added more homes than California in the eight years from 2010 – 2018. On a housing spree, the Lone Star State built 1.1 million new homes during that period, compared to California, which built 589,000. Florida came in at No. 3, creating 552,000 new housing units.
But when you factor population growth into the equation, the Golden State’s eight-year housing per population growth rate ranked No. 31 in the nation at 4.3 percent. The national average is 5.1 percent. By comparison, Texas is 11 percent, Utah is 13 percent, and North Dakota is No. 1 at 18.6 percent.
California’s population stands at 40 million, making the Golden State the most populous in the nation. Since 2010, the state has added 2.4 million people. Texas came in at No. 1, adding 3.5 million, and Florida at No. 2, adding 2.5 million people.
But California’s population growth rate pales compared to Utah’s, which is 13.9 percent. Texas is next at 13.7 percent, followed by Florida at 13 percent. Still, there are not enough homes for California residents. And despite the fact that California leads the nation in job growth, there is simply not enough housing for the number of workers.
Utah and California share a cultural similarity in that there are a lot of young families, so this is one of the reasons there are more people per residence. And California is home to many ethnic groups who favor multi-generational living. Still, experts believe the ratio of more people per residence in California also has a lot to do with the high cost of housing, making co-living arrangements more practical.
If California wants to get closer to the national average for the number of residents per home, the state would have to add about 2.5 million housing units. This equates to one more residence for every six that exist today.