The number of households with children declined over the last decade, but the share of households with pets increased: NAR

The U.S. now has more households with pets than with children, according to a recent analysis by the National Association with Realtors (NAR).

According to the NAR, while the number of families with children in households declined in the last two decades, the number of pet owner households increased. The share of Americans with pets in their homes is up from 56% in 1988 to 70% in 2022, according to data analyzed by the NAR.

On the other hand, U.S. Census data analyzed by the NAR shows that the number of families with children under 18 living in their homes has declined over the last decade, dropping from 48% in 2002 to 40% in 2022.

Per the NAR, the drop in the number of families with children can be attributed to an overall decline in birth rates, with the exception of last year, when the birth rate increased, and children from Baby Boomer households moving out of their parents’ homes.

Conversely, pet ownership skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic as more U.S. households adopted pets, which likely contributed to the rise in homes with pets over the last three years. Per the analysis, dogs and cats are the most common pets.

Pets as a factor in home buying

A large percentage of homebuyers also factor in their pets when deciding where to buy a home, the analysis shows, and considering their pet is often the most important factor.

About 19% of all recent homebuyers factored their pets into their neighborhood choice, according to the NAR’s 2022 profile of homebuyers and sellers. Of the married couples, about 14% of those surveyed say they factored in their pets when deciding on a neighborhood, while 32% of unmarried couples say they did so when choosing a neighborhood.

When it comes to unmarried home buyers, about 16% of single men and 25% single women say they chose to consider their pets as a factor in choosing a neighborhood.

Those who factored their pets in neighborhood choice were also more likely to do the same for other features, like outdoor spaces, walkability and convenience to parks and recreation areas, according the NAR analysis.

Of the buyers who considered their pets as a part of their neighborhood choices, 40% say they prioritized acreage, 24% prioritized walkability and 33% prioritized the proximity to parks and recreation areas.

In comparison, only one-fourth of the buyers who did not consider their pets when choosing a neighborhood prioritized acreage when choosing a neighborhood. In addition, about 14% prioritized walkability and 15% prioritized convenience to parks and recreation areas, according to the analysis.