Sober House Demographics

If you are like most people, you want to find a way to fit in. Even if you are a weirdo, you want other weirdos to bond with. Even though you know that the other residents in a sober house will all understand your addiction and recovery perspective, you may want to know more about them. For help finding treatment that allows a smooth transition into sober living, call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?).

What are they like? Are they like you? Do you have things in common?

Clearly, demographic stats don’t tell you all that you need to know about a person, but they can give you insight into general patterns. Just remember that looking for sober houses that have niche community identifications—like women-only, men-only, and religious affiliation—will increase the commonalities between yourself and other residents.

Ideally, this post will help you learn more about the sober living house community and help you to find your place in it. However, you should contact prospective houses to gain more information. Demographics are developed on a broad scale and all individual homes will have their own patterns.

If you need help finding a suitable sober house or treatment help. Our experts can answer questions point you to resources, and find you a treatment program that you will love. Just call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?) to get started.

Sober Houses

It’s important to know exactly what a sober house is so that you don’t confuse it with treatment.

Sober House Demographics

Demographics are developed on a broad scale and don’t represent every sober house community.

According to an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sober houses have five common traits:

  1. They provide a drug and alcohol free residence for people trying to abstain from alcohol and drugs
  2. They offer no formal treatment services. However, they either require or strongly urge attendance at 12-step self-help groups.
  3. They call for compliance with house rules, which include continuing abstinence, paying rent and other fees, joining in house chores and going to house meetings.
  4. Residents are in charge of financing their own rent and other costs.
  5. Residents may stay in the house as long as they want if they follow the house rules.

Beyond these basic commonalities, sober houses have a lot of individual variation.

Study Demographics

More than one study has dealt with sober house residents and each one had a separate group of demographics. What follows is the data from one study.

The first set of data comes from Clean and Sober Transitional Living in Sacramento County California. The group consists of 16 houses with a total of 136 beds. Interviewed were 245 individuals within the first week of arriving at the houses.

  • Men: 77 percent
  • White: 72.5 percent
  • Average age: 38
  • High school education or GED: over 75 percent
  • Referred by self, family or friend: 44 percent
  • Referred by criminal justice: 29 percent
  • Referred by inpatient treatment: 15 percent

Options Recovery Service is an outpatient program located in Berkeley, California. It treats approximately 800 clients per year. Interviewed were 55 participants.

  • African American: 59 percent
  • White: 30 percent
  • Average age: 43
  • Referred by self, family or friend: roughly 50 percent
  • Referred by criminal justice: 24 percent

A large percentage of residents at both facilities were homeless prior to living in a sober house, as well.

These demographics and their associated research are the basis of many studies. However, these are the demographics of very specific facilities.

Sober Housing for Parolees


With the above demographics, it is important to note that both facilities offer men’s-only housing and that they tend to serve low-income participants. That isn’t the case with all sober living situations.

Entering a home that caters to a particular sub-set of individuals will change the overall statistics. Specialty housing may be designed for:

  • Women
  • Men
  • Families
  • Mothers with Children
  • Ethnic groups
  • Sexual Minorities
  • Religious groups
  • Age groups

Another huge factor in determining the demographics of a facility is cost. Many sober communities are quite upscale and they tend to skew white, educated, and referred by self, family, or friend. Although, they still have a lot of court-mandated residents.

If you are ready to look for a sober house that will make you feel like part of the group, it is time to do some research. These demographics may have scared you because they don’t represent you, but there are homes that will. You just need to find them, and our treatment helpline can assist you. Just call 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?).

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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