Census Shows Jump in Shared Households

More people are packing into one home together.

Looking back on the recession, the U.S. Census Bureau finds the number of shared households grew by 11.4 percent from 2007 to 2010. Meanwhile, total households grew by a modest 1.3 percent.

“Although reasons for household sharing are not discernible from the survey, our analysis suggests that adults and families coped with challenging economic circumstances over the course of the recession by joining households or combining households with other individuals or families,” said Laryssa Mykyta, a Census Bureau analyst and co-author of the report.

The Census Bureau defines a “shared household” as one with an additional adult who isn’t enrolled in school and who isn’t the partner or spouse of the home owner.

Shared households in 2010 accounted for 18.7 percent of all households in the country, up from 17 percent in 2007. A bulk of the increase comes from the number of adult children moving back in with their parents, which grew from 1.2 million to 15.8 million between 2007 and 2010.

“Household sharing seems to be a means of alleviating economic strain at the household level,” the report notes. “When resources were combined across members, household poverty rates were lower for shared households than for other households.”

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