The Effects of Recession on Household Composition: "Doubling up" and Economic Wellbeing

Laryssa Mykyta, U.S. Census Bureau
Suzanne Macartney, U.S. Census Bureau

The current economic recession offers the opportunity to assess the effect of economic conditions on contemporary demographic behaviors. One way individuals cope with challenging economic circumstances is to combine households with other families and individuals (“doubling up”). In this paper, we use the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement for 2008 and 2010 to examine whether there has been an increase in the number and share of doubled up households since the start of the recession in 2007. Using logistic regression, we also explore the characteristics of individuals in doubled up households and use survey year to assess whether the characteristics of doubled up households have changed since the start of the recession. Finally, we consider whether doubling up masks higher poverty rates among related individuals and whether it improves the well-being of households and individuals.

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Presented in Session 104: Family Response to Economic Recession and Natural Disaster