- An estimated 5.6 percent of all Americans, or 17.7 million people, live in manufactured homes, commonly referred to as “mobile homes” or “trailers.” Metros located in the South and Southwest have the highest share of households living in mobile homes.
- The number of mobile homes and trailer parks in the United States grew rapidly in the 1980s, when the federal government slashed funding for affordable housing. Today, mobile homes are the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U.S., providing shelter for one in ten households living below the poverty line.
- Nationwide, the average monthly gross housing cost for a mobile home is $564, compared to $1,057 for a site-built home or apartment. In the 100 largest metros, mobile home residents spend 40.5 percent less on housing costs than those living in non-mobile homes in the same metro, on average.
- Manufactured homes can be built faster and cheaper than traditional homes. Yet, even with a growing gap between the supply-and-demand of low-cost housing, they are rarely viewed as a solution to the affordable housing shortage. In less dense areas, local leaders can leverage mobile homes to increase the low-cost housing stock.
One in eighteen Americans live in a “mobile home or trailer”1, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Manufactured housing — commonly referred to as “mobile homes” and “trailers” — offer the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U.S., providing shelter to an estimated 5.6 percent of Americans, or 17.7 million people. In order to better understand the role mobile homes play in providing housing for low-income Americans and their potential to alleviate the affordable housing shortage, we conducted an original analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data accessed through the IPUMS database.
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