Most Americans Prefer Big Houses, Even if Farther From Amenities

(Courtesy Pew Research Center)

Most Americans–57%–said they would prefer to live in a community where houses are larger and farther apart, even if schools, stores and restaurants are farther away, per the Pew Research Center, Philadelphia.

Pew conducted its survey March 27-April 2, 2023.

About four-in-ten (42%) of those surveyed said would prefer a community where “houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.”

Pew Research Analyst Ted Van Green noted the share of the public that prefers more spread-out communities is roughly similar to two years ago, when six in ten Americans said this. “Public preferences were more evenly divided on this question in fall 2019, a few months before the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

The report found differences in these preferences by party, age, education, race and ethnicity and community type.

“Republicans have consistently been more likely than Democrats to express a preference for communities with larger houses,” Van Green said. “Currently, 72% of Republicans and Republican leaners, compared with 43% of Democrats and Democratic leaners, would opt for this type of community.”

While most adults prefer communities with larger homes over those with more walkability, adults under 30 are somewhat more likely to express the opposite preference, the report said. “This reflects a modest shift from 2021, when 55% of 18- to 29-year-olds preferred communities with larger homes. That share has dropped 10 percentage points over the last two years,” Van Green said. 

Looking at education, Americans who lack a bachelor’s degree are more likely than those with more formal education to prefer communities with larger houses. About six in ten of those with some college experience or less education (61%) reported they would prefer this compared with 53% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 45% of those with a postgraduate degree. Pew reported six in ten White adults said they would prefer communities that are more spread out, as do about half of Black (54%) and Hispanic adults (51%). “By comparison, 62% of Asian adults would prefer more walkable communities with smaller houses,” Van Green said.