Imagine falling asleep to the lulling sound of the ocean waves outside or windows, or waking up, opening the doors, and seeing nothing but the beautiful towering trees of a national forest surrounding you.
If you’re a van lifer, this dream could be your reality.
But before you sell all of your worldly possessions and purchase a 1964 Volkswagen Transporter, consider the following stats, facts, and trends.
General Vanlife Stats and Facts
- 51% of van lifers reside in their vans full time.
- Only 36% of van lifers live alone. Most, 44% live with one other person.
- 43% of van lifers live in cargo vans and 18 % live in passenger vans. Only about 13% live in the iconic Volkswagen “hippie van,” and 6% live in RVs.
- The most common way to bathe (28%) is by utilizing a gym membership. The second most common (21%) is with a built-in van shower.
- 39% of van lifers use public restrooms, while 35% have a built-in van toilet.
Vanlife Demographics Stats
- In 2019, The US Census Bureau estimated that over 140,000 are living in vehicles, such as vans, RVs, or boats.
- In a 2020 survey, the majority of people who would consider van life were millennials. 31% were aged 35-44 and 29% were 25-34 years old.
Vanlife Spending Stats
- A little over half (56%) of van lifers estimate they spend between $101 and $300 on gas every month, whereas 27% send over $300 in gas each month and 17% spend under $100.
- A surprising 38% of van lifers spend $0 on campsites each month. Only 4% spend more than $300 on campsites per month.
- States with the most van lifers include California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, and Washington.
- 50% of van lifers sleep in either Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas or National Forests/Grasslands.
- 79% of van lifers convert their vans themselves.
- Pets accompany about 40% of van lifers.
- Van lifers have all types of jobs, but some common occupations include remote workers, entrepreneurs, seasonal jobs, or odd jobs. About 4% of van lifers are retired, and 9% are unemployed.
How many people are living the van life?
As of 2019, it was estimated that over 140,000 people were living in a van or other vehicles.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that the number may have increased significantly.
Is van life a popular trend?
The van life is considered a popular trend. It is prominently displayed on social media. As of the writing of this article, there are 12.4 million #vanlife tags.
What is converting a van like?
Converting a van will be a different process depending on many factors, such as who and how many people will be living in the van, where they intend to live, and how much luxury they desire. The cost of a van conversion can range from under $1000 to well over $40,000.
Some people choose to have a van professionally converted, but most van lifers convert it themselves in an attempt to save costs.
Conversions can take anywhere from a few months to over a year.
Do van lifers travel alone or with other people?
Most van lifers travel with at least one other person, sometimes more.
Only about 36% of van lifers live on their own.
In this day and age, some people see van life as “living the dream:” a sense of freedom, waking up in beautiful locations, and an escape from consumerism. But van life is not any work and all play.
If you think van life is for you, do your research and consider these key facts, stats, and trends.
Statistics for this article were gathered from the following sources:
- Outbound Living
- USA Today
- The New York Times