Talk about sharing the American Dream. Pressed by the recession, millions of mostly young Americans are now doing just that by doubling up in houses and apartments, according to new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Between 2007 and 2010 - the Great Recession's prime-time - the number of shared household in the United States increased 11.4%, reaching 22 million in 2010, according to the Census Bureau's report Sharing a Household: Household Composition and Economic Well-Being: 2007-2010,
Overall, the 22 million shared households in 2010 accounted for 18.7% of all U.S. households, compared to 17% in 2007. By the end of 2010, just over 30% of all adult Americans lived in a shared household, compared with 27.7 percent in 2007.
Individuals age 25 to 34 made up 45% of the increase in persons living in shared housing between 2007 and 2010.
"Although reasons for household sharing are not discernible from the survey, our analysis suggests that adults and families coped with challenging economic circumstances over the course of the recession by joining households or combining households with other individuals or families," said Laryssa Mykyta, an analyst in the Census Bureau's Poverty Statistics Branch and one of the authors of the report.
Apparently, doubling up is helping people residing in shared homes cope with the recession. While the personal poverty rates among individual adults living in shared households are high, the overall poverty rates for shared households are lower than for non-shared households.
Thanks, Mom and Dad: Young adults living with their parents realize the most economic benefit from shared housing, according to the Census Bureau. When including the incomes of their parents, only 8.4% had incomes at or below the federal poverty label. Based on their individual incomes alone, 45.3% of young adults living with their parents would be in poverty.
"It is difficult to assess the precise impact of household sharing on economic well-being," Mykyta said, "but the higher personal poverty rates for adults heading shared households suggests that this group has fewer individual resources than their counterparts. However, lower official and household poverty rates among adults who head a shared household suggest that household sharing lessened economic strain."