Finance Globe

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Shared Housing and Food Stamps Rose in 2011

The number of adults living in shared housing and the number receiving food stamps increased since before the beginning of the recession through 2011, but the there was little change in the number receiving public assistance, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released on Wednesday.

The Census Bureau defines shared housing as a home with an adult resident who is neither the householder or the householder’s spouse or cohabiting partner. Adult relatives, roommates, and other unrelated people are included, but not students aged 18-24 who are enrolled in school.

For 2011, almost half of all additional adults were children of the householder, and about a third included parents, siblings, and other family members. Non-relative adults in a shared household accounted for just under 20 percent.

From 2007 to 2011, the number of adults living in someone else’s household increased in 40 states and in the nation overall - with the largest increases in the South and the West. There were 41.2 million “additional adults” in households in 2011, or 17.9 percent, up from 16 percent in 2007. From 2010 to 2011, this number increased by 1.9 million, or 0.6 percentage points.

More than 1 in 5 households were shared in 8 states. Hawaii, California, and New York had the highest percentage of shared households at 28.2 percent, 25.8 percent, and 23 percent, respectively. Twenty percent or more of households were shared in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and Texas.

The West and Midwest had the lowest proportions of shared households. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa had the lowest rates of shared housing, ranging from 10.9 percent to 11.6 percent.

Many of the adults in a shared household would be living in poverty if they had been 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 participation rose 1.1 percent in 2011, increasing in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen million households - 13 percent - reported that they’ve received food stamps in the past 12 months. The largest increases were in D.C., Alabama, and Hawaii. Oregon had the highest participation rate at 18.9 percent.

There were 3.3 million households - 2.9 percent - receiving some type of public assistance over the past 12 months in 2011. 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.

Source:U.S. Census Bureau
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