This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recession Demographics

One of the stories being plumbed from the latest American Community Survey data is the doubling up of households as a coping strategy in the current recession. A story in the New York Times focuses on only one family, but it starts with a few numbers from the ACS:
Of the myriad ways the Great Recession has altered the country’s social fabric, the surge in households like the Maggis’, where relatives and friends have moved in together as a last resort, is one of the most concrete, yet underexplored, demographic shifts.
Census Bureau data released in September showed that the number of multifamily households jumped 11.7 percent from 2008 to 2010, reaching 15.5 million, or 13.2 percent of all households. It is the highest proportion since at least 1968, accounting for 54 million people.
Even that figure, however, is undoubtedly an undercount of the phenomenon social service providers call “doubling up,” which has ballooned in the recession and anemic recovery. The census’ multifamily household figures, for example, do not include such situations as when a single brother and a single sister move in together, or when a childless adult goes to live with his or her parents. 
Sharing a household has been a long-held economic strategy for immigrants and others trying to get a foothold in the local economy, and it would seem to be an inevitable result of the multitude of houses now sitting empty in the aftermath of the housing bubble--the very same economic conditions that increased joblessness in the country.

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