Friday, September 16, 2011

7.5 Million More Americans Living in "Double Up" Situations Since 2007

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Outside of the major headlines, the census report released earlier this week on poverty, median wages, and healthcare coverage has a lot of interesting detail in it.  One is on household trends.  Quite an astounding statistic here on the number of people 'doubling up' in terms of living situations.  What is doubling up?

“Doubled-up” households include at least one person 18 or older who isn’t enrolled in school and isn’t the householder, spouse or cohabiting partner of the householder.

That number has skyrocketed by 7.5 million people since the pre-recession period in 2007.  My first thought was the majority are young adults who cannot find work after college - but that only explains 1.2M of the 7.5M.

Some 5.9 million, or 14.2% of 25-to-34 year olds, lived with their parents in 2011, up from 4.7 million before the recession.  

That leaves 6.3M in either the 18-24 range, or 35+.  There have been a lot of anecdotal stories in the mainstream press the past few years of "middle age" adults moving back in with their parents (and even people not going through with divorces because they can't afford to), but this certainly is interesting data to help quantify it.  [Apr 8, 2008: Recession Causes Relatives to Move in Together & Sharp Drop Off in Divorces]   Of course if you are a mega bull, this is a lot of future household formation - once these folks can either get a job and/or a higher paying job that would allow them to move out (or back out) on their own.  (as an aside this also apparently helped drop the official poverty rate.)
  • Census says 69.2 million, or 30%, were doubled-up in 2011, up from 61.7 million adults, or 27.7%, in 2007.
  • “These young adults who lived with their parents had an official poverty rate of only 8.4%, since the income of their entire family is compared with the poverty threshold,” David Johnson chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau said. “If their poverty status were determined by their own income, 45.3% would have had income falling below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65.”
  • 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.
[Apr 9, 2010: 1.2 Million Households Lost in Great Recession - Through 2008]

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