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As Economy Continues to Heat Up, Fewer Mobile Homes Are Moving

FRIDAY, OCT 18, 2019

Mobile homes, once viewed as a primary source of housing for poor people in the Deep South and Appalachia, have expanded their range to shelter poor people in the American West.

The nation’s 8.5 million mobile homes made up about 1 in 16 U.S. housing units in 2017, according to a Social Explorer analysis that can be viewed here. Nine of the 10 states with the highest percentages of mobile homes all had median household incomes that were less than the national average.

Visualize and analyze households report living in mobile homes on the MSA level. Click here to explore further.


The figures represent a downturn over the decade, likely the result of a slow recovery from the 2008 economic collapse that resulted in millions losing their homes to foreclosure. Mobile homes made up 6.3 percent of all dwellings in 2009; that figure had dropped to 5.7 percent in 2017.

New Mexico had the greatest percentage of mobile home dwellers at 16.9 percent; South Carolina trailed with 16.6 percent. Mississippi and West Virginia were tied for second, with 15.1 percent. Wyoming, the only state in the top 10 with a median household income that exceeded the national average, was fifth, with 13.8  percent. 

Six of the 10 places with the highest percentage of mobile homes were either in Florida or New Mexico. The north-central Florida micropolitan area of Palatka reported 42.8 percent of its housing units were mobile home, the highest figure in the nation. Clewiston, Fla., ranked second with 41.3 percent, and Española, N.M., was No. 3 with 39.1 percentTwo Nevada cities also made the top 10 – the Las Vegas exurb of Pahrump (36 percent) and Winnemucca, a mining area in northern Nevada (36.5 percent).

Mobile homes made up fewer than 1 percent of all housing units in 17 places, according to the 2013-17 American Community Survey. Vineyard Haven, Mass., had the smallest percentage of mobile homes of any place in the mainland U.S., with 0.2 percent.  Four places in Hawaii ranked low for mobile home penetration, as well: Kapa’a (53 mobile homes, or 0.2 percent); Honolulu (408 mobile homes, 0.1 percent); Hilo (289 mobile homes, 0.3 percent); and Kahului (326 mobile homes, 0.5 percent).

Some of the nation’s largest metro areas reported housing stock that included less than 1 percent mobile homes. Bridgeport, Conn., the nation’s capital for income inequality, had 0.4 percent of its housing in mobile homes. The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had 33,634 mobile homes – only about 0.5 percent of the total. The nation’s capital had 14,556 mobile homes, about 0.7 percent of the total. And Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, had 32,371 mobile homes, or 1 percent of the total.


Author: Frank Bass

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