Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How many people live full-time in an RV?

From time to time someone asks me this question and up until today, I didn’t have a good answer.  But now I do.  Well, sort of, anyway.
I went to the Escapees Forum where I asked the question and got some good estimates. 
Escapees Logo
One member of the Escapees Organization reported that in 2008, USA TODAY said that 8 million U.S. households own at least one RV.  Now that is interesting, but still doesn’t answer my question.
One of the more knowledgeable Escapee members is Kirk Wood.  Kirk said:
“One major problem with any kind of accurate numbers is that RV owners do not agree on just what a full-timer is. Every time that question comes up there is a big fight over who is and who is not. There are even those who claim to be "part-time, full-timers!”

“I hear many talk of 1 million or more full-timers and have heard numbers that large now for most of the time that I have followed that, which is about 15 years now. The most documented report that I ever saw was from Texas A&M and about 7 or so years back. It estimated that there were no more than 250,000 people who owned an RV as their only home and had no permanent parking spot for it.. But do you have to move the RV to be a full-timer? That depends upon the rules! And in what they wrote (working from memory as I don't have the report now) that about 20% or so of those that they found were considered to be itinerant while most were retired. Even they agreed that it is difficult to track just how many people live in RVs because the population is so fluid and changes rapidly.”
Clay L chimed in to say that “In the 2000 census there was a category called "other non-standard housing" defined as boats, recreation vehicles and other such residences which have no permanent physical address. Based upon the 2000 census that number was estimated to be 260,000 people.
How many in that category are full time RVers is unknown. My best guess would be maybe 3/4 are. That would mean that there are about 200,000 of us.”

So there are probably one quarter of a million of us out here.  I’ll go with than number from now on.

Stay tuned.


  1. Hard to tell the number of them, but I'm one of them! :)

  2. Count us in as the full-timers. Wandering to and fro and hither and yon. Great post.

  3. We met a lady once that refereed to herself as a semi-affluent homeless person.

  4. As some one said on a blog recently, living in an RV does not necessarily make you an RVer. I would agree with the concept to be a full time RVer, the rig ought to move one in awhile, but I have no firm idea what that time frame should be.

    we consider ourselves full time and normally do not stay in one place more than a few weeks. However, when we leave here next month, we will have been in the same campground for almost five months ( a record for us by far for our 4.5 years on the road). The motorhome has moved three or four times in that period, but always returning to the same campground.

    In the end, does it really matter if you are doing what you want?

  5. That report was 7 years ago and I am betting that in this economy and the coming of age of many boomers, that there are many more people who live full time in RV's theses days.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hi All I live in New Zealand and I live in a Cottage from Cedar Creek USA Its quite an experience got all my stuff with me all i do miss is my own washing machine i did not put it in this one but if i had the chance over again I would not compromise with any of the amenities of an RV mine is a park model and it could be on its way onto my daughters private property 1 hour outside Auckland I like not being so alone in all of this

  8. I heard the 1M number on "Big Time RV" the other night on TV. I agree with previous posts, that it's probably a lot less than that however, with the economy and employment getting tougher and tougher, I believe more people will be looking at this lifestyle as an option.

  9. Ahhhh but many fulltimers use a permanent address even though we do not live there.