Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Supporting the Kids

How many married couples have financially dependent adult children living with them? According to the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), 8.7 million. We know this because the CEX counts "consumer units" rather than households. The two concepts are similar, except for one important difference. A consumer unit is a group of people who live together and (here's the important part) share at least two of three major expenses--housing, food, or other living costs. The CEX count of married couples with adult children at home, then, identifies households in which parents are supporting grown children. (In a few cases, the child could be supporting the parents, but that's not common).

The 8.7 million couples with dependent adult children in 2010 is 655,000 more than the 8.1 million of 2000, but 597,000 fewer than the peak of 9.3 million in 2009. That may be good news, signifying that young adults, at least, are beginning to gain traction in the sluggish economy. One other point: It is interesting to note that the number of couples living with and supporting adult children far surpasses the number with preschoolers, 8.7 million to 5.2 million in 2010.

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