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1 million Americans live in RVs. Meet the ‘modern nomads.’

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It is an interesting article and well written, but they do make what appears to be a statement from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association that I question. 

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A million Americans live full-time in RVs, according to the RV Industry Association.

The total number of RV fulltimers is a question that has been debated for many years and one that lots of us would be very curious to know an accurate answer to, but it is also one that I have never been able to find a reliable answer to. If RVIA actually made that statement it must have been from some spokesman and orally as I can find noting of that sort on their website. They do address the number of RV owners in the USA and I suspect it to be as accurate as any since it is attributed to a study by the U. of Michigan.  In an effort to find some current information I have submitted a request to the US Census Bureau to see if they can help me. Some years ago I did find an estimate of 250k residents in "boats and other unconventional housing" on that site but I was unable to find anything current. 

Edited by Kirk W

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Your support request has successfully been submitted. Support will be handled via woody@1tree.net.

Case ID #: GS-76991
Submitted: December 3, 2018

 

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I like the diversity of people they chose to interview. While the article admits some full-time out of necessity their interviewees are all people who have freely chosen this lifestyle. That's good to see.

Linda

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This connects to a book I recently read called, Nomadland.  This book is mainly about people who didn't necessarily choose the mobile (RV, Van, Trailer...) lifestyle, it was more or less thrust upon them due to financial situations.  However, it was interesting how they came to love the freedom, community, and close relationships they found along the way.  Many talked about "finding their tribe."  Interesting read!

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How many of these million nomads are set up as a permanent resident in a park forever and are actually just the same as trailer park living but in an RV.  Some of these never move for years on end.  I find it hard to include these folks as RVers or Nomads but rather just another form or permanent home living.

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Some probably wouldn't admit they full time if they have a rig still under warranty since many of them don't allow full time use under the terms of the warranty.

 

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3 hours ago, edatlanta said:

Some probably wouldn't admit they full time if they have a rig still under warranty since many of them don't allow full time use under the terms of the warranty.

 

I'm sure RV manufacturers are reading all the stories about full timers just to deny warranty work.  I bet they have a full department covering it. It would be better if they put them on QC instead.

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On 12/3/2018 at 6:54 AM, FL-JOE said:

Great article.  Better start building more campgrounds!

My wife and I were just talking about this yesterday. We went in to Dallas Saturday and noticed that the two brand new RV parks that were finished and opened early this summer were already about 90% full!! We were surprised that they filled so quickly. It also looked like a lot of those RV'ers were not going to be moving anytime soon!!

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And then there's another class of full-timers like me. Started out with a big rig. Got setup in a co-op park in the Escapee network, and after a couple of years we made a big decision to park our super sized trailers on our lots and travel in something a little smaller. And believe me there's a lot of us who have made the choose. As a single Rver I really don't need that much room, and with a smaller trailer I can get in places some people can't. But in the winter months I do like coming back to my 40 foot 5th wheel.

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1 hour ago, coachmac9 said:

My wife and I were just talking about this yesterday. We went in to Dallas Saturday and noticed that the two brand new RV parks that were finished and opened early this summer were already about 90% full!! We were surprised that they filled so quickly. It also looked like a lot of those RV'ers were not going to be moving anytime soon!!

We are witnessing some newer parks and expansion of existing ones as we travel.  Creekside RV Resort (Punta Gorda FL) was only a couple years old and they have already added a new section.  Upriver RV Resort (N. Ft. Myers FL) is adding 55 - 60 new sites as I type.  Harbor Cove RV Resort (Coldwater MI) is only 2 or 3 years old and still making improvements.  Creekfire Motor Ranch (Savannah GA) is only a couple years old and stays very busy.

I'm guessing that about 1/3 of all the private CGs we utilized in 2018 were less than 3 years old.  

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1 hour ago, Captain Happy said:

And then there's another class of full-timers like me. Started out with a big rig. Got setup in a co-op park in the Escapee network, and after a couple of years we made a big decision to park our super sized trailers on our lots and travel in something a little smaller. And believe me there's a lot of us who have made the choose. As a single Rver I really don't need that much room, and with a smaller trailer I can get in places some people can't. But in the winter months I do like coming back to my 40 foot 5th wheel.

We probably would never park our rig and travel in anything small.  Some day when it is time to give up full timing we may look at park models, sell the rig, and then check on getting a smaller RV if we are still wanting to do some light traveling.

We are checking into a CG in Florida that opened up new sites for purchase.  We will always spend 4 months during the winter here for doctor visits, etc.  If we could make the numbers work in our favor we would possibly buy a lot instead of paying the rent in the high season down here.  

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0ne million could be however the majority of  Rv's sold are used by weekenders and low use folks. I doubt that the number of Rv's sold have anything to do with full time living. We winter in Florida and the majority of Rv;s here belong to snowbirds . The local campgrounds at home are packed with weekend campers but nearly vacant  during the week days. We are long timers and have a S&B. We do not live in our RV 24/7/365.We question the one million number.

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The help from the Census Bureau was of no value. They referenced all sorts of housing data but if there is anything relating to those living in an RV or on a boat, they really don't seem to know how to find it. 

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3 hours ago, Kirk W said:

The help from the Census Bureau was of no value. They referenced all sorts of housing data but if there is anything relating to those living in an RV or on a boat, they really don't seem to know how to find it. 

That's because, according to the Census Bureau you either live in a house/apartment or an OLQ: other living quarter, e.g. dorm buildings, campgrounds, nunneries, hospitals (but assisted-living is *not* OLQ, that is an LQ),  With OLQs being one group they can't tell you how many of those are RVs. I suppose we could ask for our own category but I'm not sure we want the government to know that about us.

Linda

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7 hours ago, sandsys said:

That's because, according to the Census Bureau you either live in a

That really isn't the problem at all. They do categorize each type of living quarters, but because those of us who live in RV's are such a tiny number when compared to the total population, we get lumped into a group called "other non-conventional housing." That group also includes those in boats and several other small groups. The total of the category is estimated to be less than 1% of the population. They just do not keep records that small due to a lack of requests for the information. What do you suppose that it would cost if our government tracked everyone down to such small numbers? 

Edited by Kirk W

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I would have thought that it was more then a million living in RVs fulltime? Within the past two years there have been seven new RV parks that have opened within 5 miles of my little ranch in southeast Texas. Many of the older ones, there are many, have become a bit rundown. I know families who live in RVs because of the low cost.

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On 12/15/2018 at 8:08 AM, momdoc said:

How many of these million nomads are set up as a permanent resident in a park forever and are actually just the same as trailer park living but in an RV.  Some of these never move for years on end.  I find it hard to include these folks as RVers or Nomads but rather just another form or permanent home living.

Squatters are not Nomads, and there should be a clear distinction.   Am sure many will say that am being judgemental, but there willbe targeted hype articles that true to label nomads as squatters.  Not even close to the same lifestyle.

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On 12/18/2018 at 10:11 AM, whj469 said:

I would have thought that it was more then a million living in RVs fulltime? Within the past two years there have been seven new RV parks that have opened within 5 miles of my little ranch in southeast Texas. Many of the older ones, there are many, have become a bit rundown. I know families who live in RVs because of the low cost.

US population is 325 million.  1 million fulltime RVers is 0.3% of that total. Even though the raw number seems large, like Kirk said we're a very low percentage of the total population.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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