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Census: It's crowded at Mom and Dad's

Buried in Tuesday’s report from the Census Bureau on the growth of the nation’s poverty rate was a tidbit that had far-reaching connotations for the housing market and the broader economy:  The kids are still at home.

The number of households “doubling up” by adding an additional adult who is not in school, a spouse or cohabitating partner rose to 21.8 million in 2010 from 19.7 million in 2007, prior to the recession. In percentage terms, doubled-up households rose to 18.3 percent in 2010 from 17 percent in 2007.

Apparently, most of the increase came from young people who either never moved out of Mom and Dad’s or moved back in after college because they couldn’t find work. According to the bureau, 5.9 million people age 25 to 34 lived with their parents in the spring of 2011, vs. 4.7 million in 2007.

Now why is that a problem for housing and the economy? If young people aren’t moving out and forming new households either on their own or after getting married, then they aren’t buying houses and filling them with appliances, furniture, potted plants, cats, dogs and Pampers.

Related story:

US poverty rate rises to highest since 1993