Dreaming big and living small: examining motivations and satisfaction in tiny house living


In America, the average house size has increased from 1660 to 2596 ft2 from 1973 to 2013 with home prices rising to more than nine times the average price in 1970. Additionally, the increase in urban sprawl and city dwelling has caused a 50% increase in the negative environmental impact of housing since the 1950s. Given these concerns, many people have reevaluated their needs and desires leading to the tiny house movement. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to examine tiny house dwellers’ motivations and understanding whether they are correlated to tiny house satisfaction. The Tiny House Community Survey was an online survey to assesses tiny house residents’ motivations for living tiny through seven diverse items (e.g., simpler life, sustainability, cost, etc.). Overall tiny house satisfaction was also measured by asking if the respondent was satisfied with his or her tiny house, captured on a five-point scale. Descriptive and multivariate analyses within SPSS 22.0 compared the motivations of tiny house dwellers according to a variety of socio-demographic and structural factors (e.g., gender, location, house size). Decreased costs, a simplified lifestyle, and increased freedom were salient motivations for more than half of the surveyed population. In examining the association between motivations and housing satisfaction, a simplified lifestyle was the only motivation held by respondents with significant relationship. Increased knowledge regarding tiny homes and their impact could help overcome some of the challenges faced by the tiny house community such as lack of awareness, legality concerns, and financing opportunities.

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Funding was received by the South Carolina Honors College.

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Correspondence to Lauren M. Boeckermann.

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Boeckermann, L.M., Kaczynski, A.T. & King, S.B. Dreaming big and living small: examining motivations and satisfaction in tiny house living. J Hous and the Built Environ 34, 61–71 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-018-9616-3

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  • Built environment
  • Environment
  • Housing
  • Housing satisfaction
  • Motivation
  • Sustainability
  • Tiny house
  • Tiny house community