Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011

November 2012
Report Number: ACSBR/11-05
Suzanne Macartney and Laryssa Mykyta


Nationally, the number of people in shared households has risen since the onset of the most recent economic recession. This brief uses data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to explore the growth in shared households at the state level between 2007 and 2011. Comparisons are also made between 2010 and 2011. The report provides summary statistics on people sharing households, particularly their age and relationship to the householder. Finally, the report explores whether or not household sharing is influenced by economic circumstances by comparing three different poverty estimates.


• In 2011, almost 1 in 5 households included an “additional adult”—someone who was not the householder, the householder’s spouse, nor the householder’s cohabiting partner.

• The number and percentage of shared households peaked in 2010 at 22.2 million and 19.4 percent.

• Between 2007 and 2011, the number and percentage of all adults who were “additional adults” increased for the nation and in 40 states. The largest increases occurred in the South and the West.

• There is some evidence that these shifts in living arrangements had an economic dimension. Many of the adults sharing a household with relatives would have been in poverty if they had been living on their own.

October 2012
October 2012