Mobile home parks and their residents are beginning to be featured more and more in today’s media. First came Welcome to Myrtle Manor, a reality TV show about a handful of quirky mobile home park residents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Then, more recently, with the controversial statement made by Miss South Carolina in her intro to the Miss America Pageant, “I’m from the state where 20 percent of our homes are mobile, because that ‘s how we roll.” Some argue that statements like these and TV shows like Welcome to Myrtle Manor only serve to perpetuate the “trailer trash” stereotype. Others say it brings a lighthearted nature to mobile home living that has not been there in the past due to the stereotype of the poor and downtrodden mobile home owner.
So who really lives in mobile homes? According to a recent article written by Tom Geoghegan: Pamela Anderson, Minnie Driver, and Matthew McConaughey are all residents of the mobile home park Paradise Cove in Malibu, California. In this park the homes boast marble floors and sell for around $2.5 Million. The same article alluded to parks in Thermal, California where conditions are terrible and most homes are held together with spit and a prayer. Both of these parks are the exception and not the rule.
If it is neither the exorbitantly wealthy nor the unemployed and destitute that live in the majority of the over 8 million mobile homes (US Census, Manufactured Housing Institute) located in the United States, who really lives in mobile homes? According to the US Census 57% of mobile home owners distinguished as the “head of household” have full time employment and 23% of residents are retired. Young families just starting out and seniors tend to populate the majority of mobile home parks. This is in part due to the cost of the average mobile home, “70% of all new single family homes sold for under $125,000 are manufactured”(Manufactured Housing Institute). The affordability of a manufactured home versus a site built home attracts younger families just starting off. It also attracts many seniors wishing to retire. Many of them sell their site built homes for the ease of Mobile Home living; with little to no yard to maintain and many amenities, including clubhouses and pools, some event boast tennis courts, the value far exceeds the cost. Other than being the average American, the mobile home owner is really just someone who has the opportunity to enjoy, as the old adage goes, “More bang for your buck”.