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Factoids

Factoids offer brief snapshots of current topics pertinent to the Furniture industry based on our on-going research. Increase your grasp of current trends, consumer attitudes, and shifts within the industry through solid statistics and concise insight.

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Factoids

State Growth: Growth of Population by State

This is the final factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the migration of the U.S. population to populous cities, creating a Big and Small America. From the 2016 Population Estimates Report done by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50 percent of residents live in just 143 counties (Big America) with the remaining 50 percent spread out over a vast area encompassing 2,999 additional counties (Small America).

State Growth

Fourteen states have no Big counties: Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. By comparison, there are 17 states with a majority of residents living in big counties. Massachusetts and New Jersey have the highest percent of Big counties – 50 percent and 47.6 percent respectively. California has the most big counties at 17, followed by Florida and Texas, both with 12. In contrast, states with the highest number of small counties are Texas (223) and Georgia (141), while states with the highest mid-sized (medium) counties include Florida (21), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (19), and California (17).

Total U.S. population grew only 0.7 percent last year, with immigration contributing about 45 percent of that growth. Although population growth was slight, 84.3 percent of states experienced increases, leaving 15.7 percent with a decrease (eight states). Utah and Nevada topped the list of states with over 1 percent growth – both increasing by 2 percent. Two highly populated states, Florida and Texas also continued to grow.

Population in three big northern states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois decreased alongside less populated states like Wyoming, Vermont, and West Virginia.

While some manufacturing jobs may return to the U.S., the divide between Big and Small America should accelerate, with metropolitan areas continuing to spread. Along with a majority of the immigrant population settling in the south and west, Americans in general will continue to gravitate to big counties that have warmer climates, job opportunities, and desirable cost of living.

Population Density of Big Counties and Counties That Attract the Most Immigrants

This is the third factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the migration of the U.S. population to populous cities, creating a Big and Small America. From the 2016 Population Estimates Report done by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50 percent of residents live in just 143 counties (Big America) with the remaining 50 percent spread out over a vast area encompassing 2,999 additional counties (Small America).

Population Density

The staggering population density in the Northeast is a current key geographic characteristic in the U.S., notably in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ MSA five key counties. With the exception of San Francisco County, CA, the Northeast contains the most congestion of people with Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA’s all containing over 11,000 people per square mile.

Meanwhile, the vast areas of California, Nevada and Arizona make the density in their counties less than .05 percent as dense as the Northeast. For example, New York County (New York City) has almost 72,000 people per square mile living in the county, compared to 2,500 in Los Angeles County, the largest county in population in the United States.

Immigration to Big Counties

Slightly less than one million people immigrated to the U.S. last year, down 3.6 percent from 2015. They represented about 45 percent of U.S. population growth. As shown in Table I, big counties were the major recipients with 74.1 percent of immigrants residing in highly populated areas.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 Population Estimates, Population Density = the number of persons per square mile in the county

Counties That Increased or Decreased in Population 2016


This is the second factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the migration of the U.S. population to populous cities, creating a Big and Small America. From the 2016 Population Estimates Report done by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50 percent of residents live in just 143 counties (Big America) with the remaining 50 percent spread out over a vast area encompassing 2,999 additional counties (Small America).

The rate of growth contrasts Big America versus Small America. The U.S. population increased by over 2.2 million between 2015 and 2016, yet almost half (49.0%) of the U.S. counties lost population.  For small counties, 54.1 percent lost residents, while only 17.5 percent of big counties diminished.

For Small counties, 450 lost over 1 percent of their population between 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, only seven Big and Medium sized counties declined 1 percent or more. The big county on the list, Baltimore County, MD, lost 1.08 percent of its residents from 2015 to 2016. Ector County, TX home of the city Odessa, TX topped of the Medium counties – decreasing population by 1.39 percent.

Counties in Texas lead the way in largest percent of population growth with the top two increasing counties located within the Austin-Round Rock, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area – Williamson County (5.09 percent) and Hays County (4.19 percent). Comal County, TX added 4.40 percent more residents to the San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX market. Southern states rounded out the list of counties gaining over 4 percent of population in 2016.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 Population Estimates

Big and Small America : U.S. Most Populous Counties 2016

Big and Small America is a term coined by the Census Bureau to reflect the present geographical spread of the American population. Over 50 percent of residents live in just 143 counties (Big America) with the remaining 50 percent spread out over a vast area encompassing 2,999 additional counties (Small America). This is the first factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the migration of residents to populous cities.

This migration is in part due to more workers seeking jobs in large cities as manufacturing jobs have left the U.S. Along with greater job opportunities, the lure of warmer climates has drawn Americans to the southern and western states. The most growth has been seen in regional hub areas and coastal areas with ports. Southern and Western areas along with larger cities have also been impacted by Immigration.

50 percent of the population lives in 4.6 percent of counties – roughly 161.7 million residents. These Big American counties average, 485,846 in population. Medium sized counties average 211,321 persons and house 10.7 percent of the nation. Very small U.S. counties totaling 2,664 represent 84.8 percent of counties and the remaining 25 percent of the population. Small counties average only 20,402 in population.

Also surprising is that over 10 percent of the population resides in just seven counties, three of which are in California. By far, Los Angeles County is the nation’s most populous with over 10 million residents in 2016. With just half the size (5.2 million), Cook County, IL has the second highest population, followed by Harris County, TX, Maricopa County, AZ, San Diego County, CA, Orange County, CA, and Miami-Dade, FL.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 Population Estimates

Consumer Spending by Generation Share of Spending on Key Consumer Items by Generation

Age and Generation greatly affect what consumer items people buy and the share of a consumer’s total expenditures allotted for these items. This is the final factoid in a series of five factoids giving a snapshot of the five adult generations using data from the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. This factoid illustrates a few major consumer items bought by each generation and which generation spends a higher percentage of their expenditures on those items. *See Factoid 1 for generation birth years and ages

As Housing is a major expenditure for all consumers, Millennials are spending a higher percentage (22 percent) of their income on rent or mortgage payments. For rent alone, 37.6 percent of total spending comes from Millennials. For homeowners, Generation X spends the highest share of their expenditures on mortgage interest (6.6 percent). As they age, many Baby Boomers are paying off mortgages and simultaneously becoming by far the largest consumers of home maintenance, repairs and insurance. Last year 45 percent of these consumer expenditures were by Baby Boomers.

Millennials spend more of their income eating out than any other generation but due to population size, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers control almost 70 percent of the total dollars spent. In family-oriented Generation X, households on average spend far more than any other generation on entertainment – roughly 38 percent of total entertainment expenditures.

Cell phones, vehicles, and education are bigger ticket items for Millennials, while Gen Xers and families spend more of their incomes on apparel and shoes. Not surprisingly, Baby Boomers control much of the healthcare spending, averaging 9 percent of their consumer spending.

Perhaps the most important statistics for the furniture industry is that while Millennials currently control 22.4 percent of furniture industry sales, they also spend a higher percentage (0.9 percent) of income on furniture than any other generation. This should bode well for the industry as Millennials continue to flood into household formations. Couple this with the growing wealth of Gen Xers and the furniture industry has the demographic profile for growth in the future.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016

Consumer Spending by Generation Household Expenditures and Furniture Spending

As Baby Boomers are aging out of prime furniture buying years, Generation X households have picked up the reigns with robust consumer spending – despite a much smaller population size. Couple the Gen Xers with the sheer population size of the Millennials and the future for the furniture and home furnishings industry looks promising. This is the fourth factoid in a series of five factoids giving a snapshot of the five adult generations using data from the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. Average Household Expenditures and furniture spending is the focus of this factoid.  *See Factoid 1 for generation birth years and ages

Household Expenditures

Although Baby Boomers account for a greater percentage of consumer spending, Generation X consumers spent more per household with an annual average expenditure of $68,532 in comparison to the $61,204 of Baby Boomers.

Furniture Spending

Staying in line with overall expenditures, Generation X also spent more money per household on Furniture Expenditures in 2016. At an average annual furniture expenditure of $920, Generation X spends on average 24 percent more than Baby Boomers and 26 percent more than Millennials. (Note: The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) projects total furniture industry expenditures at a lower rate than the Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE) survey conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is tied to the GDP. Mapping the CEX to the PCE reflects a more accurate picture of expenditures shown in the second chart.)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016
* Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016 mapped to Personal Consumer Expenditures Survey and Impact Consulting Services’ Furniture Core industry model

Consumer Spending by Generation

As Baby Boomers are aging out of prime furniture buying years, Generation X households have picked up the reigns with robust consumer spending – despite a much smaller population size. Couple the Gen Xers with the sheer population size of the Millennials and the future for the furniture and home furnishings industry looks promising. This is the third factoid in a series of five factoids giving a snapshot of the five adult generations using data from the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. We highlight Housing Tenure, Race, and Education of consumers by generation.  *See Factoid 1 for generation birth years and ages

Housing Tenure

As would be expected, only 33 percent of Millennial households are homeowners, but that number is increasing daily. Generation X has not quite embraced homeownership like their parents, with 62 percent owning their own residence compared to 76 percent of Baby Boomers.

Race of Consumer

Ethnic diversity continues to grow the younger the generation. For heads of households, Hispanics or Latinos have become the second largest segment after Whites, Asian, and all other races – increasing from 9 percent of Baby Boomers to 18 percent of Generation X and Millennials in 2016.

Education of Consumer

The data continues to confirm that Millennials are the most educated generation. In 2016, 71 percent of Millennials were college educated versus 69 percent of Gen Xers and 63 percent of Baby Boomers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016

Consumer Spending by Generation, Household Income, Age of Consumers and Size of Household

As Baby Boomers are aging out of prime furniture buying years, Generation X households have picked up the reigns with robust consumer spending – despite a much smaller population size. Couple the Gen Xers with the sheer population size of the Millennials and the future for the furniture and home furnishings industry looks promising. This is the second factoid in a series of five factoids giving a snapshot of the five adult generations using data from the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. *See Factoid 1 for generation birth years and ages

Generation X had an average household income (before taxes) of $95,168 in 2016, the highest mean household income of any generation in history. Gen Xers households earning on average are 19 percent higher than Baby Boomer households and 45 percent more than Millennials. Of importance is that Generation X has the highest number of earners per households, 1.7 earners, compared to Millennials, 1.5 earners. As Millennials age and grow in the workforce, rising incomes paired with numbers of consumers will increase their 19.4 percent share of consumer spending dramatically.

With the highest incomes and an average age of 43.3, Generation Xers are prime consumers. At an average age of 60, many Baby Boomers have retired, while a majority of Millennials have entered the workforce are gaining more purchasing power at an average age of 28. In fact Millennials have now surpassed Gen Xers in the number of individuals in the U.S. workforce.

Generation X represents the bulk of families with children. They have an average of 3.2 total people per household and 1.2 children under 18. Millennials, however, are starting to have children at a higher pace averaging 0.9 kids under 18 per household – bumping up the average size of a Millennial household to 2.6.  Baby Boomers still have an average of 2.1 persons per households, most likely reflecting leftover Millennials still at home for younger Boomers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016

Consumer Spending by Generation

As Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70 in 2016) are aging out of prime furniture buying years, Generation X households (ages 36 to 51) have picked up the reigns with robust consumer spending – despite a much smaller population size. Couple the Gen Xers with the sheer population size of the Millennials (ages 35 and below) and the future for the furniture and home furnishings industry looks promising. This is the first factoid in a series of five factoids giving a snapshot of the five adult generations using data from the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Baby Boomers still have the highest number of households representing 34.8 percent of consumer units, compared to 27.5 percent for Generation X, and 22.9 percent for the up and coming Millennials.

In 2016, U.S. Households spent $7.42 trillion in the U.S. economy with Baby Boomers controlling 37.2 percent of all total consumer expenditures and Generation X close behind at 32.8 percent. Millennials, with lower average household incomes and smaller numbers, control only 19.4 percent of the total. Regardless, with almost 10 million more consumer households, Baby Boomers still outspend Generation X – despite growing incomes for Gen Xers.

For Furniture and Bedding expenditures, Millennials are stepping up to spend more of their income on home furnishings than any other generation, but still control only 22.4 percent of industry sales. Generation Xers are closing in on Baby Boomers as the generation that controls more industry sales, 34 percent, compared to 34.7 percent for Boomers. As Baby Boomers age out of the furniture industry, the influence of Gen Xers and Millennials will continue to grow.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016

Housing Inventory and Housing Starts

The Housing Industry continues its upward momentum with median prices among both existing and new homes catapulting by over 40 percent since 2011. This is the final factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the steady rise of home prices paired alongside housing inventories and median incomes unable to keep the same pace.

Housing Inventory

Along with rising home prices, low inventory has posed a problem for many home buyers wanting to upgrade housing or buy for the first time. Forecasters see little change on the horizon for existing home sales.  Although in a much higher price bracket, new home inventory has steadily increased over the last year – rising 16.5 percent from July 2016 to 276,000 homes in July 2017. In comparison, at a year-to-date inventory of 1.9 million homes, existing home inventory had a typical dip in the fall and winter but is still 9 percent lower from July 2016 to July 2017.

Housing Starts

The growth in new Single-Family unit housing starts will not let up anytime soon. Starts are projected to have double digit growth over the next two years. However, Multi-Family unit housing starts (apartments) has fallen dramatically since the boom of 2014-2015 brought on by pent up demand and also the Millennials pouring into the rental market. Developers complain of long permitting and construction time spans also a lack of skilled workers. However, even though Multi-Family starts are projected to fall slightly next year, this reflects the apartment industry returning to a more realistic growth cycle. The challenge to growth in new home starts will be the affordability for first-time Millennial buyers, and current homeowners seeking to upgrade.

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