In Bad Economy, More Family Members Under One Roof

According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, the recession beginning in 2007 spurred Americans to move in with relatives. From 2007 to 2009, the number of Americans living in multi-generational households surged from 46.5 million to 51.4 million. The population living in multi-generational households climbed by 10.5% from 2007 to 2009. In 2007, 15.4% of the population lived in multi-generational households, whereas 16.7% did two years later. Multi-generational households are defined as house holds with a) two adult generations: parents and adult children ages 25 and older, b) three generations, c) skipped generations (grandparents and grandchildren, without parents) or d) more than three generations. In 2009, more than 10% of households in the United States were multi-generational; most multi-generational households consisted of two adult generations.
Although income levels for multi-generational households, when adjusted for household size, are lower than other households, the poverty rate among residents of multi-generational households is significantly smaller than for those in other household types. In 2009 the poverty rate was 11.5% for Americans in multi-generational households and 14.6% in other households.The report also finds that groups hardest hit by the recession may stand to benefit the most from multi-generational living. These groups include unemployed Americans, young adults, hispanics, and blacks. Whereas the poverty rate for unemployed Americans living in multi-generational households was 17.5% in 2009, the rate was substantially higher for Americans in other households, at 30.3%.

Often referred to as the "boomerang generation," today's young adults have increasingly moved back in with parents after living independently. A quarter of young adults ages 18 to 24 moved back in with their parents during the recession. The report attributes this to the high rate of unemployment in young adults during the recession.

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