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The Effects of Recession on Household Composition: “Doubling Up” and Economic Well-Being

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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2011-04


The current recession presents the opportunity to study the effect of economic strain on contemporary family behavior and household structure. The extent to which young adults delay home-leaving, adults join households, or families combine households in response to economic stress is not well-documented. Using the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement for 2008 and 2010, we find an increase in the number and share of doubled-up households and adults residing in doubled-up households since the start of the recession in 2007. Results from logistic regression models predicting doubled-up status suggest that younger adults and those who were not in the labor force were more likely to be doubled up in 2010 than in 2008. In general, doubled-up householders and adults were more disadvantaged and experienced a larger increase in poverty rates during the recession than their counterparts.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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