What Is the Small House Movement?

The small house movement, also referred to as the tiny house movement, is a social campaign that encourages people, particularly Americans, to downsize into smaller homes. The average American home was about 2,479 square feet (230.3 square meters) in 2007, compared with 1,780 square feet (165 square meters) in 1978. Advocates of the movement promote the use of homes that are less than 1,000 square feet (92.9 square meters) to encourage people to live with less material possessions, to conserve land and energy and to reduce household spending.

More about the small house movement:

  • The average European home was 820 to 990 square feet (76.2 to 92.0 square meters) in 2007, depending on the specific country.

  • About 1% of all home purchases in the US in 2011 were for homes that were less than 1,000 square feet (92.9 square meters).

  • It is estimated that 68% of people who own small houses don’t have outstanding mortgages, compared with 29% of all American homeowners.
More Info: thetinylife.com

Discussion Comments


@MrsPramm - I'm a bit skeptical about that, to be honest. If you look at China there are people in the big cities there that live perfectly happily in apartments as big as an American walk-in closet. And those are apartments without the benefits you might find if you had a decent backyard.

I think people should have smaller houses because we need the space, frankly, to grow more good food and to spend more time outdoors. People are often worried about food shortages in the future, but a family can basically live off an acre if they have to and they can supplement their diet a great deal with the land that is currently buried under their foundations.

They also wonder why their kids stay inside all day and blame their generation, but they are the ones who changed the landscape and encouraged everyone to stay inside as much as possible.


@irontoenail - It depends on what your definition of reasonable is. I mean, I think it's difficult to really define that for an individual. I'm pretty happy with just a small amount of private space, but other people need quite a lot to feel sane in their day to day lives.

And we also have to remember that all those big houses have created jobs as well, for the people who clean them and work for the power companies that power them and so forth. It's not a simple equation.


To be honest, I don't even think they need to call it the small house movement. I think even a medium house movement would be enough. Houses in the States are ridiculously big compared with other countries. It's more expensive to heat them and more expensive to cool them, as well as just being a plain waste of space.

I once knew a girl who had two bedrooms, and used one to basically store all her hats and scarfs! And her parents probably lived in a two room apartment when they were students and thought themselves lucky. We just take for granted that bigger is better, but in this case it certainly isn't.

On the other hand, I don't think we need to shrink right down to minuscule size either. It just needs to be reasonable.

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