Storing Our Prosperity

by Don Boudreaux on March 8, 2007

in Standard of Living

This report in today’s New York Times on us Americans and our storage space doesn’t prove anything — but it does offer yet more evidence that ordinary Americans in fact are much wealthier today than we were just a few years ago.  Here’s the gist:

According to Michael T. Scanlon Jr., president of the Self Storage Association, a trade group, 11 million American households currently rent storage space, an increase of 90 percent since 1995 — even as the size of new American houses has grown and the size of the American family has shrunk.

In the last two years, close to a million more households have joined the ranks of storage renters, and there is now more than two billion square feet of rental storage space in the United States, earning more than $22 billion in gross revenue in 2006.

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djconnor March 8, 2007 at 6:46 pm

I appreciate your point about Americans being far wealthier than they were in 1995, but I suspect a number of those American households that are occupying supplemental storage are single women.

I could be wrong but by alluding to the decreasing American family size, I automatically think of direct instance of downsizing- divorce, for one. But having talked to a number of my wife's female friends, they all stash their overflowing wealth (junk?) in said storage units- more often than any other grouping (according to my non-statistical thought experiment).

I suspect that they are driven to do this more because their meager NoVA studio is barely afforded by their single income than they are bursting at the seams with "wealth."

I'm extremely hesitant to point to our so-called wealth creation over recent years, particularly with the disturbing prevalence of cheap money- who's to say where our true gains left off, and some politician's reelection campaign picked up?

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