Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Rebounding Multifamily Home Construction

19 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2015

See all articles by Jordan Rappaport

Jordan Rappaport

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Date Written: June 23, 2015


The sharp rebound in U.S. multifamily construction since the housing crisis has been driven largely by young adults, who swung back toward living in apartments following a shift away during the housing boom. But adults in their 50s and 60s accounted for nearly all the net increase in multifamily occupancy from 2000 to 2013. The article decomposes changes in occupancy for four age groups into changes in population, changes in headship, and changes in the share of the age group that lives in multifamily units. Young adults’ headship has been trending down since 1980, largely due to the increase in the share of low-education individuals who live with their parents. Young adults’ multifamily share has been trending up since 1980, reflecting delaying marrying and having children. Improving health and longevity have pushed back the age at which older adults typically downsize from single-family to multifamily units by twenty-five years since 1980. The leading edge of the baby boom is about to enter the age range where such downsizing accelerates and so U.S. multifamily construction is likely to remain strong over the coming decades.

Keywords: Housing Demand, Residential Construction, Baby Boom, Millennials

JEL Classification: R21, J11

Suggested Citation

Rappaport, Jordan, Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Rebounding Multifamily Home Construction (June 23, 2015). Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper. Available at SSRN: or

Jordan Rappaport (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ( email )

1 Memorial Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64198
United States
816-881-2018 (Phone)
816-881-2199 (Fax)


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