Retail Square Footage Per Capita Comparison

The United States had a total of 8.5 billion retail square feet as of December 2019. This equals 24.5 square feet per capita, which is very high, especially compared to the European average of 4.5 square feet per capita. Metro Atlanta has 16.3 retail square feet per capita. The below chart shows a comparison of the square footage of retail space per capita for the United States, Europe, and Atlanta. Again, these numbers are the total square footage in these areas, including occupied and not for lease or sale properties. Available square footage is discussed below the chart.

As of December 2019, Metro Atlanta had 3.2 square feet per capita of available retail space. This is space that is for lease or sale. Because of the pandemic and the subsequent store closures, it is possible that this number will increase. Because some companies will not be able to stay afloat after the pandemic is over, it is likely that the available square footage of retail space will increase, therefore increasing the per capita value. It will be important to keep an eye on this number in the future to see if COVID-19 affects the per capita value in this way, if at all.

Data from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, CoStar Group, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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