Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weird Facts: In the 1990s, your family came for dinner. Now they're moving in.

weird facts

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The number of parents, siblings and other relatives who live with adult heads of households grew 42% from 2000 to 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leading the way: parents, up 67%, to 3.6 million.

The figures suggest it isn't only elderly parents moving in. The number of parents under 65 in these households increased by 75%, and those 65 and older were up 62%. Both groups outpaced the increase in the number of people in family households overall, which is up 6% since 2000.

"This is just a major trend," says Stephanie Coontz, a family history professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who directs research at the Council on Contemporary Families.

Coontz suspects that a host of factors — among them higher housing costs and the nation's struggling economy — are prompting families to combine expenses. Also, intergenerational households are more common among the country's growing number of immigrants, she says.

But Coontz also notes that parent-child relationships are closer now than in the past. The downside, she says, is the emergence of the so-called helicopter parent who may hover too closely, but the upside is a tighter bond between generations and, in many cases, closer friendships between grown children and their parents. "I don't know how many of my students have told me, 'This may sound weird, but I talk to my parents more than I talk to my friends.' "

The average size of both families and households grew from 2000 to 2007, the data show, after shrinking slightly in the 1990s. The average family in 2007 had 3.2 people, up from 3.14 in 2000. The average household, which includes those in which someone lives alone, had 2.61 people in 2007, up from 2.59 in 2000.

Among other factors changing households:

• A 40% increase in the number of other live-in relatives, including the head of household's mother-in-law or father-in-law, to 6.8 million.

• A 24% increase in the number of live-in brothers and sisters, to 3.5 million in 2007.

• An 8% increase in non-relatives, including unmarried partners and roommates, to 6.2 million.

• Alaska had the highest percentage change in parents living with householders, up 167%. South Dakota had the lowest, still up 7%.

The Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey collects data from about 3 million U.S. households each year.

[Via - USAToday.Com]