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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Number of merged households jumped 11.4% between 2007 and 2010

Trend Observation:  Census data published in a story from the Washington Post last night indicates that more than 1 in 6 households across the U.S. are home to more than one family.  22 million households hold combined families or returned family members, which is 18.7% of U.S. households.  The number could include any kind of merge, including return-to-nesters, left-left-the-nesters, multi-generational households, or simply people sharing a place as a means of coping with economic reality.  And adults 25-34 made up about two thirds of the increase.  Click here to see the whole story.

Marketing Implications:  Among those choosing to retreat from tough economic times by moving in with parents or other friends and family, the strategy seems to be working.  According to the story, fewer than 1 in 10 young adults who live with their parents are living below the poverty line (8.4%), when entire household incomes are taken into consideration.  Among this group (co-habitants), the poverty rate would be more than 45% if calculated by individual income. 

Parents, friends or other hosts have helped create a situation where many young adults who would be otherwise impoverished are creating a situation where the guest can re-group, stash some cash, or afford more discretionary spending like out-of-home dining, entertainment, or asset acquisition (whether that means a car, clothing, home furnishings for the day they move out, etc.)

“I live with my parents” might not be a comfortable statement for the proud young adult to make.  But it’s setting them up to live a little, while they become more financially comfortable to set off on their own.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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