Undeniably the world changes, and those who don't change with it end up stuck in the quicksand of history, wondering why they can't move ahead.

For providers of housing – whether homebuilders or landlords – it's imperative to understand that demographics shift from generation to generation along with housing needs. 

It's fine to speculate on what someone would like to buy or rent, but the consumer always dictates demand, and it's time to look at just how fragmented the consumer market really is.  

You will always have young married couples looking for their first home, retirees looking to downsize and established families looking to upgrade, but one forgotten group is the young and single. Their numbers and nomadic tendencies are growing. 

In particular, the demographic identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as young, single and educated (25-39) is described as constantly on the move.

"In 1970, the most mobile group among young people were those who were married and college educated, with 79% reporting that their residences in 1965 and 1970 were different." By 2000, the single, young demographic had a 75% mobility rate, compared to 72% of married couples," the bureau reported.

This group also is more likely to flock to urban areas as other homeowners move away from the city.

The nation had 6 million single, 25- to 39-year-olds in 1970, a number that rose to 24 million in 2000. The report studied the 30-year period stretching from 1970 to 2000.

The number of singles with at least a bachelor's degree grew from 15% in 1970 to 27% in 2000.

Anyone appealing to this market may want to ask whether these people are buyers or long-time renters. Or, would they fit better into a two-year, option-to-buy type of contract?

Perhaps they are lifetime renters, creating a need for national apartment management firms to create stronger relationships that jump from city to city. In other words, if you keep them engaged with your brand today, they may move to a sister property in another city tomorrow.

The report concludes with a telling line: "Because of the group’s human capital, as well as its potential impact on population growth — both for destinations and origins — the group warrants continued study."

If the Census Bureau is taking note of them, the housing industry may want to also. 

kpanchuk@housingwire.com