Demographics

Immigration Fuels Largest 1-Year Population Increase in US History

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Chris Porter photo

Eric Finnigan

Chris Porter

April 4, 2024

Key takeaways

  • Immigration is fueling record-high US population growth, propping up housing and jobs.
  • Massive wealth creation supports housing activity.
  • Working from home allows people to move where housing is more affordable.
  • Aging baby boomers are staying in their homes longer and won’t be adding much to the resale supply.

Companies use our analysis of the 4 Big Influencers (government, economy, technology, and changing societal norms) to plan around demographic shifts impacting their business.

Government policies: The surging US population is already impacting the economy and housing.

Immigration is fueling the largest one-year population increase in US history, propping up housing and jobs.

Surging immigration has led to an unexpected increase in population, supporting housing demand (namely rentals), boosting the labor pool, and helping cool wage inflation.

Economic cycles: US residents born pre-1970 control $107 trillion in wealth.

Unprecedented wealth creation is aiding for-sale housing demand despite elevated mortgage rates.

Those born in the 1950s and 1960s have doubled their wealth in the last decade, leading to more home-buying and remodeling for themselves and their kids.

Technology: The percentage of people working from home is now 4 times the 2019 share.

Working from home has normalized at ~30% of full workdays, creating continued demand for housing in more affordable areas across the country.

The shift to working from home has freed commuters to move where homes are more affordable and homebuilders and rental developers can more easily buy and underwrite land.

Societal shifts: Listings from aging baby boomers are not a ‘silver tsunami.’

Aging baby boomers are adding few homes to the resale supply—not an overblown “silver tsunami.” The number of homes listed for sale due to aging baby boomers is increasing, but gradually.

Baby boomer deaths will lead to 772K homes listed for sale annually by 2033—a big number, but less than 1% of all owner-occupied homes. Not all these homes will be for sale, as many will transition to single-family rental units.

Action items for executives and decision-makers

  1. Plan for solid and stable demand for all types of housing over the next decade.
  2. Buy land and build homes assuming that many residents will work from home 2–3 days per week, and many will get financial help from parents.
  3. Monitor shifts in the 4 Big Influencers—government, economy, technology, and society—for new, emerging impacts on the housing industry.    

Take action now.

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About The Author

Eric Finnigan photo
Eric Finnigan
Vice President of Demographics Research
Eric leads demographics research at JBREC, including the US Demographics Insights and Strategies suite. He focuses on helping clients plan around demographic shifts that impact housing and the overall economy.
Chris Porter photo
Chris Porter
Senior Vice President, Chief Demographer
Chris brings clarity to JBREC’s clients on demographic trends and translates their impact on local housing markets. He also analyzes and compares local housing market metrics in JBREC’s Metro Analysis and Forecast and Regional Analysis and Forecast monthly reports.

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