In coping with economic challenges over the past few years, many people in the 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 last week, that the number and share of doubled-up households and adults sharing households across the country increased over the course of the recession in the US. In spring 2007, there were 19.7 million doubled-up households, amounting to 17.0 percent of all households. Four years later in 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, or what we like to call GenY, 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. 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. The WSJ analyses:
“Fewer households means fewer consumers for businesses desperate for demand. (You don’t need to buy a new TV if you can just use mom and dad’s.) At the same time, it continues to drag on a housing market that needs to burn off excess supply. Meanwhile, the struggles of young adults can have a broad economic impact. Parents supporting adult children have less money to spend on themselves, not to mention less income to save for retirement.”