Report ranks interest in downsizing by state

Tennessee occupies the No. 1 spot based on Google search data related to smaller homes

HIGH POINT — As the population ages, it makes sense that more and more people will be looking to downsize.

A recent report from tiny home builder Clever Tiny Homes recently focused on that theme, ranking the states most interested in downsizing. Tennessee occupied the No. 1 spot.

This ranking was based on Google search data for terms such as downsize, small houses and tiny homes. The data was analyzed by each state’s population to determine which states had the most searches per 100,000 people.

In Tennessee, for example, there were nearly 20,000 average monthly searches. Based on its population of 7,051,339, it had the most searches related to downsizing at 283.36 per 100,000.

North Carolina came in second on the list with 279.22 searches per 100,000 based on an average of 29,874 monthly searches and a population of 10,698,973.

South Carolina came in third with an average of 14,370 monthly searches or 272 per 100,000 based on its population of 5,282,634, and Alabama ranked No. 4 or 269.99 per 100,000 based on 13,700 monthly searches in a population of 5,074,296.

Ranking at No. 5 was Arkansas, with 8,158 monthly searches on average, or 267.84 per 100,000 based on its population of 3,045,637.

Others in the top 10 included Georgia, with 265.04 searches per 100,000 people; Washington, with 257.52; Maine with 253.13; Oklahoma with 249.89; and Vermont with 238.64.

The entire list of states in the ranking is shown in the chart at right.

The authors of the survey imply that some consumers younger and older alike are opting for tiny homes, the type of dwellings with anywhere from 60 to 500 square feet of living space. Such extremely minimal living spaces allows them to chase other pursuits such as travel.

But more often than not, retirees in particular aren’t necessarily looking to trade their thousands of square feet they’ve grown accustomed to over the years for excessively cramped living spaces. Instead, they are seeking homes that represent a transition of sorts, and that require much less maintenance, including yard work and other types of care or upfit.

Southern Living, for example, suggests that homes of around 800 square feet — including two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room — offer plenty of space for retired couples.  

Another article in the same magazine suggests going larger, around 1,500 square feet. With two to three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a kitchen and living area, this can also suit those looking to entertain and have friends and family, including grandkids, visit anytime they choose. The space also can offer other amenities such as a screened-in porch, deck or wraparound porch that can also be perfect for entertaining and family gatherings.

This Old House also touts downsizing to include these and other benefits:

+ Lower utility bills associated with less heating, cooling and related electrical costs.

+ Reduced clutter that more rooms seem to accumulate over time.

+ Fewer rooms = less cleaning and less maintenance.

+ Less financial responsibility and stress related to taxes, homeowners insurance and other expenses.

None of this is to say that moving into a new home doesn’t come with its own challenges, including adapting to one’s new surroundings. But, for many, the idea of less upkeep and expense is part of the adventure of downsizing and retirement. As we’ve said before, decorating and acquiring new furnishings that are suitable to one’s new home can also be part of the process and adventure in this stage of life.

This gives furniture retailers another opportunity to welcome and sell this vibrant and active part of the community that they also call home.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

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