How many full-time RVers are there?


Joe and I aren’t alone in our desire to become nomads late in life.

When we  pull out of Auburn, New York, we’ll be joining an estimated 250,000 to 1 million people living in their RVs full time. At least those are the numbers I see on blogs. Nobody really knows the actual number because no one has accurately counted them.

The U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t separate out full-time RV living from other housing structures. The American Community Survey for the years 2009-2011 estimated that the nation has 131.8 million housing structures. The vast majority of those, 61.5 percent, were traditional single family homes.

Then there are various kinds of row homes and apartment buildings.

The closest the survey comes to counting something like an RV is the estimated 8.6 million mobile homes, or 6.5 percent of the nation’s housing stock.

The Census Bureau puts RV living in the “other” category, which is where it puts occupied boats and people living in a van. The “others” represent an estimated 111,000 or 0.1 percent of the nation’s housing structures.

Based on what I see on full-time RV Facebook groups and books I’ve read, the full-time Rvers are way under represented in the survey.

In California, the housing crisis is so severe in some areas that people are living full time in RVs that they’re parking on city streets.

The Facebook sites that I belong to also show a number of young families with mom and dad and two, three, six or eight kids living in fifth wheel bunkhouse pulled by a big truck.  In many of those cases the kids are home schooled and the family is nomadic, traveling around the country  as parents chase jobs.

I’m also seeing a number of military families on Facebook who are living in RVs as they move from post to post.

Then there are those who buy a used RV and are parking it for free on a friend or family member’s land. They don’t travel.

In June, Joe and I will pull our 32-foot Jayco Precept out of the driveway and put Auburn in the rear view mirror. And at that point, I guess, we’ll fall off the Census Bureau’s radar. We’ll be “others.”

Our legal address will be at my daughter’s in Pittsburgh, but our home will be on the road.20180127_155455