Written by: David Johnson, US Census Bureau
In coping with economic challenges over the past few years, many of us have combined households with other family members or individuals. These “doubled-up” households are defined as those that include at least one “additional” adult – in other words, a person 18 or older who is not enrolled in school and is not the householder, spouse or cohabiting partner of the householder.
The Census Bureau reported today that the number and share of doubled-up households and adults sharing households across the country increased over the course of the recession, which began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. In spring 2007, there were 19.7 million doubled-up households, amounting to 17.0 percent of all households. Four years later, in spring 2011, the number of such households had climbed to 21.8 million, or 18.3 percent.
All in all, 61.7 million adults, or 27.7 percent, were doubled-up in 2007, rising to 69.2 million, or 30.0 percent, in 2011.
Young adults were especially hard-hit, with 5.9 million people ages 25 to 34 living in their parents’ household in 2011, up from 4.7 million before the recession. That left 14.2 percent of young adults living in their parents’ households in March 2011, up more than two percentage points over the period.
These young adults who lived with their parents had an official poverty rate of only 8.4 percent, since the income of their entire family is compared with the poverty threshold. If their poverty status were determined by their own income, 45.3 percent would have had income falling below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65.
Each year, the Census Bureau asks people in roughly 78,000 households about their income in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to our Current Population Survey. If you are one of them, remember that your answer is very important and kept in strict confidence. This information helps our nation address the many problems of poverty and find solutions.
To learn more about poverty at the local level, you can consult results from the American Community Survey, which has statistics from counties, cities and smaller areas.