Recession Causing Households to "Double-Up"

Posted by - Friday, September 16th, 2011

This week, the United States Census Bureau released their report for 2011, a report that contained some unexpected information.

According to the census, households have seen quite an increase in “doubling up” since before the recession in 2007.

The Wall Street Journal says:

“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.

So does this mean an influx of comic-book-reading, video-game-playing thirty-year-olds living in mom’s basement?

Well, probably not, since that would be an influx of 7.5 million compared with before the recession. 

Actually, the census reports that 30% of Americans are living in these doubled-up households. 5.9 million of these are in the age range of 25 to 34, a jump of 1.2 million since 2007. 

But the additional 6.3 million that have “doubled up” since 2007 must be either 18 to 24 or above 35.

The Tennessean reported on some interesting versions of this situation indicating that quite a few are over 35.

One story is of a son who, after seven years, decided to move back in with his parents – and bring his wife and two children with him.

The family could just not afford their living situation anymore, and doubling up seemed to be a solution.

In another case, one couple felt the wrath of the economy when their rent increased beyond their fiscal ability, and that was when they asked their friends to share a home with them. 

Now the two couples, one with a child, live in a two-story home together, each inhabiting one of the floors.

According to the Wall Street Pit, only 8.4% of these doubled up households fall below the poverty line. If the doubled-up inhabitant were to live independently, 45.3% would be below the poverty line.

These numbers are all we need to see that these living situations are not propelled by lazy adult-children. Instead, they are necessary solutions to real fiscal struggles.

And as the Wall Street Pit reports, this burdens the economy even more.

One household means less household goods, which harms retail. And it also means less inhabited homes, which does nothing for the suffering housing market.

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