The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Top News 09 June 2021 Number of single households will continue to rise until 2040

BBSR presents Household Forecast 2040

While the population of Germany is expected to decline slightly by 2040, the number of households continues to rise – particularly single households. However, regional differences are evident in the patterns of development. In the conurbations, but also in many rural areas of southern Germany, the number of households will increase slightly. On the other hand, in regions with declining populations, the number of households will decrease. These are the conclusions presented by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) in its Household Forecast 2040.

The number of smaller one- or two-person households in Germany will increase by 3.8% to 33 million by 2040. In contrast, the number of larger households with three or more persons will decrease by 6.4% to 9.6 million.

The single-person household is already by far the most common form of household in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, in 2019 one-person households accounted for about 42% (17.6 million) of all households. According to BBSR calculations, that proportion will increase to about 44% in 2040. In the city states (Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen), more than every second household (52%) will then be inhabited by people living alone.

Commenting on this trend, Dr Markus Eltges, Director of the BBSR, said: “The increase in the number of smaller households is changing the supply and demand for housing. We need many more smaller homes for one and two persons. In addition, more and more older people are living alone. The demand for barrier-free homes, both new builds and existing properties will increase, as will the demand for local care and health services. At the same time, there is a need for more social facilities and stronger networks at neighbourhood level, so that we can provide people living alone with measures to combat loneliness – in towns and rural areas.”

The Household Forecast is part of the Regional Planning Forecast 2040. This shows how population, household and labour force figures will change nationwide and regionally in Germany by 2040, if past trends remain stable in the future. The Regional Planning Forecast also provides information about structural changes. The regionally differentiated forecast makes its assumptions on the basis of long-term demographic developments. Accordingly, the forecasts cannot reflect future policies and crises that suddenly occur and which have lasting effects.

The Household Forecast 2040 ( in German) can be downloaded

Map: Past and future changes in households Past and future changes in households

Map: Past and future changes in households Past and future changes in households

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