Do you know how much electricity your home uses each year?
Electricity consumption of American households
We updated all the statistics on the electricity used in households. In fact since this article was originally written many years ago, electricity consumption estimates have doubled for Americans. The recent figures, as of 2020, show that the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer is 10,715 kilowatthours (kWh). If you divide that by 12 months, the average monthly electricity consumption is 890 kWh per month. What about in a single day? That would be 10,715 KWh divided by 365, or 29 kWh. Then the average daily electricity consumption is 29 kWh.
Instantaneous power demands of American households
Let’s get the instantaneous electricity usage. The number of hours in a year is 365 times 24 = 8760 hours. Then on average, at any one time, your house is using 10,715 divided by 8760 hours, which is 1.22 kilowatts. The power needs of a house at any instant then is on average 1.22 kilowatts. But to be fair, there are heavy and light load fluctuations. And most of the energy use is happening during waking hours. A better approximation is to say that energy use is happening only during the day. That boosts the instantaneous power consumption up to 2.44 kilowatts.
|Frequency||Usage (kWh = kilowatt hours)|
|Instantaneous||1-3 kW (kilowatts)|
The daytime power needs will fluctuate further. The fluctuations are caused by high load devices like washers, dryers. We’ll ignroe that for now. Read on to know how that breaks down by state for the U.S.
Source of Data
All data comes from the EPA data store on residential electricity providers. We used this file collected in 2020, which gives all providers in a state, the number of residential customers which presumably means number of households, the total electricity provided in MWH (megawatt hours) and the revenue generated. This enables calculating the amount of electricity used by each household and how much they were paying per megawatt hour.
Household electricity use by state, average electricity bill, and cost per KWH
After processing the data, the results are below for household monthly electricity use and monthly cost, and the cost on a per kilowatt hour basis. The averages hide a lot of variation in the states. Surprisingly, Louisiana had the highest monthly electricity consumption at 1200 kWh per residential customer, and equally surprisingly Hawaii had the lowest at 537 kWh. So the highest is more than twice as high as the lowest! Remember that the US average is 900 kWh.
What’s also interesting is that the rates paid by households in each state was wildly different. At the low end paying close to $0.10 per kWh are Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington. And at the high end, paying about three times more is Hawaii at $0.30 per kWh. Alaska is a distant second highest paying $0.23 per kWh.
Reducing the carbon footprint from your home’s power use is a theme we will post a lot on in the future. As a primer for these posts we are going to look at how much electricity households use around the world, and what per person use is in different countries.
Average household electricity use around the world
About 80% of people in the world have access to electricity. This figure has increased in the last decade, mainly due to increasing urbanization. But despite the fact that more and more people are getting access to electricity we use very different amounts of it.
Using data from the World Energy Council we can compare how much electricity the average electrified household uses in different countries.
Across the countries we chose to compare household electricity use varies enormously. The average American or Canadian household in 2010 used about twenty times more than the typical Nigerian household, and two to three times more than a typical European home.
Comparing the US, France, UK and China
In the US typical household power consumption is about 11,700 kWh each year, in France it is 6,400 kWh, in the UK it is 4,600 kWh and in China around 1,300 kWh. The global average electricity consumption for households with electricity was roughly 3,500 kWh in 2010.
There are numerous things that drive these differences, including wealth, physical house size, appliance standards, electricity prices and access to alternative cooking, heating and cooling fuels.
Factors that explain why consumption is China is low and India is even lower
Perhaps the most surprising thing in this chart is that the global average is as high as 3,500 kWh/year, given that the figures for India and China are so low. Two things explain this, household size and electrification rates.
In China about 99% of people have electricity and average household size is around 3. In India these are 66% and 5 respectively and in Nigeria 50% and 5. Average household size in most wealthy countries is closer to 2.5 people. As a result the distribution of electrified households is more skewed towards wealthy countries than population in general.
Home electricity use per person
By taking residential electricity use and dividing it by population we can look at how much electricity the average person uses at home in each country. Unlike in our previous graph this chart takes in to account all the people in each country, so for places where electricity access is not universal the figures are lower.
Although the graphs look very similar there are some striking differences.
Americans use 5x more power than global average
Each American uses about 4,500 kWh per year in their home. This is about six times that of the global average per capita, or more than five times the average for those who have electricity access.
The variation between developed countries is also quite stark. While the US and Canada are up around 4,500 kWh per person the UK and Germany are below 2,000 kWh. In Brazil, Mexico and China per person use is just 500 kWh, but growth is very different. In Brazil residential use per person has been stable over the last 20 years, whereas in Mexico it is up 50% and in China it has increased 600%.
Energy use in general across the globe – 2022
Broadening our lens to include all energy use including electricity, transportation, heating, cooking, shows a similar trend of the US and Canada at the very top. And strikingly, as incomes in China have risen, so as electricity consumption, at this point on par with Italy and close to the UK. This chart from Our World in Data from 1965 to 2020 shows the trend.
Where is yours like?
Our household electricity use has been 2,000 kWh each of the last few years, which means it is about 700 kWh per person. We benefit from not using electricity for heating or cooling, although our electric oven is a big source of demand.
That makes us a Brazilian family, but global people 😉
How do you stack up?
I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.
I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas. I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.
When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.