In 2011, 17.9 percent of people 18 and older lived in someone else’s household, up from 16.0 percent in 2007, prior to the start of the economic recession, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. Specifically, 41.2 million adults in 2011 lived in a household in which they were neither the householder, the householder’s spouse nor the householder’s cohabiting partner. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of these additional adults increased by 1.9 million, from 17.3 percent to 17.9 percent of adults.
This information comes from Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011, one of three briefs recently released highlighting economic conditions using statistics from the American Community Survey. The other briefs examine levels of participation in food stamp, nutrition assistance and public assistance programs.
Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011 explores the growth in households that contain an “additional adult” (a resident 18 and older who is neither the householder, the householder’s spouse, nor the householder’s cohabiting partner). This brief also provides information at the state level between 2007 and 2011 and examines whether or not household sharing is influenced by economic circumstances.
In recent years, shared households have increased as a proportion of all U.S. households. In 2007, prior to the start of the economic recession, 19.8 million or 17.6 percent of households were shared. Nationally, shared households peaked in 2010 at 22.2 million or 19.4 percent of all households and declined to 22.0 million or 19.2 percent of households in 2011.
In the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Nevada, 20 percent or more of the population 18 and older lived in someone else’s household in 2011, the highest shares among the states and the state equivalents.
The number and percentage of these additional adults increased in 40 states between 2007 and 2011 with larger increases in the South. Florida experienced a 4.4 percentage point increase to lead all states, followed by Nevada (3.9 percentage points).
In 2011, more than one in three young adults 18 to 24 were residents in someone else’s household; the same was true of more than 30 percent of those 25 to 34. For the latter group, the share of additional adults increased by 4.5 percentage points since 2007, compared with a 1.7 percentage-point increase for those 18 to 24.
States in which more than one-third of young adults 25 to 34 were additional adults included California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
Almost half of all additional adults were children of the householder. Additional adults can also be parents of the householder (9.6 percent), siblings (8.1 percent) and other relatives (16.0 percent). Nonrelatives accounted for the remaining 19.2 percent. The share of additional adults who were children of the householder increased by 1.7 percentage points between 2007 and 2011, while the percentage who were parents or nonrelatives declined.
Many of the adults sharing a household with relatives would have been in poverty if they had been living on their own. The official poverty rate for additional adults (based on family income) in 2011 was 15.8 percent. However, their individual poverty rate was 55.5 percent. (This “individual” poverty measure looks at what the poverty rate would be if the additional adults lived alone.)
Food Stamp/SNAP Receipt
A second brief, Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households by State: 2010 and 2011, presents American Community Survey statistics for households at national and state levels. The brief shows that in 2011, 14.9 million households, or 13 percent, reported receiving such benefits during the past 12 months, up from 11.9 percent in 2010. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia experienced a rise in participation, with the District of Columbia, Alabama and Hawaii among the states with the largest increases. In 2011, Oregon had the highest participation rate (18.9 percent).
Public Assistance Receipt
The third brief, Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2010 and 2011, analyzes American Community Survey data at the national and state levels. According to the brief, 3.3 million households, or 2.9 percent, in 2011 reported receiving some form of public assistance benefits at some point in the previous 12 months. For the first time in several years, there was no significant increase in the number or percentage of American households receiving public assistance benefits relative to the previous year.
Also, for the first time in several years, the percentage of households receiving public assistance declined in some states. Four states (Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire and Utah) and the District of Columbia had lower participation rates in 2011 compared with 2010. However, seven states (Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia) had increases between 2010 and 2011 in participation rates.
Seventeen states — concentrated in the West and Northeast — and the District of Columbia had a higher participation rate in the percentage of households receiving public assistance than the national average. Conversely, 24 states had lower participation rates than the U.S. average, with 11 of them in the South and nine in the Midwest.
The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from retailers and homebuilders to town and city planners. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation's people, and questions about our economy were added under President Madison in 1810.