Number of Multifamily Households at Record as People Try to Avoid Becoming Homeless

December 29th, 2010

Obviously, the economy is playing a big part in this, but I wonder how many households choose this route even though they aren’t broke? This is the default setting for billions of people.

Update: Pew Research Center: The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household:

Another factor has been the big wave of immigration, dominated by Latin Americans and Asians, that began around 1970. Like their European counterparts from earlier centuries, these modern immigrants are far more inclined than native-born Americans to live in multi-generational family households.

Some 18.8% of people living in immigrant households in the U.S. live in a multi-generational family household, compared with 14.2% of people in native-born households, according to a Pew Research analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s 2009 Current Population Survey. Interestingly, however, among the nation’s two largest immigrant groups by race and ethnicity – Hispanics and Asians – the native-born households of these groups have a slightly higher tendency to be multi-generational families than the foreign-born households.

Via: New York Times:

Of the myriad ways the Great Recession has altered the country’s social fabric, the surge in households like the Maggis’, where relatives and friends have moved in together as a last resort, is one of the most concrete, yet underexplored, demographic shifts.

Census Bureau data released in September showed that the number of multifamily households jumped 11.7 percent from 2008 to 2010, reaching 15.5 million, or 13.2 percent of all households. It is the highest proportion since at least 1968, accounting for 54 million people.

Even that figure, however, is undoubtedly an undercount of the phenomenon social service providers call “doubling up,” which has ballooned in the recession and anemic recovery. The census’ multifamily household figures, for example, do not include such situations as when a single brother and a single sister move in together, or when a childless adult goes to live with his or her parents.

For many, the arrangements represent their last best option, the only way to stave off entering a homeless shelter or sleeping in their cars. In fact, nearly half of the people in shelters in 2009 who had not previously been homeless had been staying with family members or friends, according to a recent report, making clear that the arrangements are frequently a final way station on the way to homelessness.

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