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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shared Households, Poverty, Social Welfare

A number of posts have looked at the demographics of poverty and public assistanceA release from the Census Bureau:
In 2011, 17.9 percent of people 18 and older lived in someone else's household, up from 16.0 percent in 2007, prior to the start of the economic recession, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Specifically, 41.2 million adults in 2011 lived in a household in which they were neither the householder, the householder's spouse nor the householder's cohabiting partner. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of these additional adults increased by 1.9 million, from 17.3 percent to 17.9 percent of adults.
This information comes from Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011, one of three briefs released today highlighting economic conditions using statistics from the American Community Survey. The other briefs examine levels of participation in food stamp, nutrition assistance and public assistance programs.
Almost half of all additional adults were children of the householder. Additional adults can also be parents of the householder (9.6 percent), siblings (8.1 percent) and other relatives (16.0 percent). Nonrelatives accounted for the remaining 19.2 percent. The share of additional adults who were children of the householder increased by 1.7 percentage points between 2007 and 2011, while the percentage who were parents or nonrelatives declined.
Many of the adults sharing a household with relatives would have been in poverty if they had been living 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.)
A second brief released today, Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households by State: 2010 and 2011 [PDF], presents American Community Survey statistics for households at national and state levels. The brief shows that in 2011, 14.9 million households, or 13 percent, reported receiving such benefits during the past 12 months, up from 11.9 percent in 2010. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia experienced a rise in participation, with the District of Columbia, Alabama and Hawaii among the states with the largest increases. In 2011, Oregon had the highest participation rate (18.9 percent).

The third brief, Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2010 and 2011 [PDF], analyzes American Community Survey data at the national and state levels. According to the brief, 3.3 million households, or 2.9 percent, in 2011 reported receiving some form of public assistance benefits at some point in the previous 12 months. 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.