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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Don't Want Your Adult Children Back Home? Here's An Alternative.

keith's child support
keith's child support (Photo credit: Sean Durham)
Everybody knows that many families moved in together to help each other out during the Great Recession, but new data from the U.S. Census bureau highlights another approach: handouts to family members to help them make it on their own. Call it allowance for grown-ups. To the tune of $567 a month on average.

About 2.1 million “providers” supported people other than their children under 21 who didn’t live with them in 2010, according to U.S. Census statistics in Support Providers: 2010. While 32% of these folks supported their parents, 34% supported their adult children (21 and older). On average they handed over $6,809 in 2010. That works out to $567 a month–like another car payment. By comparison, 4.8 million parents paid out an average $5,140 in child support to children under 21 in 2010. That works out to $428 a month.

The providers who are helping extended family members had an average family income of $83,250. (Providers who support children under 21 had an average family income of $57,000.) While most (70%) support one additional adult, 22% support 2 people and 8% support 3 or more people.

The statistics come from a national survey about the social and economic well-being of individuals and households. A prior survey in 2005 also showed 2.1 million providers supporting those other than children under 21, at an average of $5,329 or $444 a month. But then only 26%–compared to 34% now– were supporting children 21 and older.

Three-quarters of these adult children being supported live in a private home or apartment (as opposed to another setting like a college campus). Luxury? Maybe compared to the reality of young adults moving back home.

The Census Bureau confirmed the house share trend in another recent report, Sharing A Household: Household Composition and Economic Well-Being: 2007-2010. That report found that shared households increased 11.4% from 2007 to 2010 for a total of 22 million shared households, with individuals aged 25 to 34 making up 45% of the increase in additional adults per household. An additional adult was defined as an adult 18 or older, not enrolled in school, and neither the head of the house, the spouse or a cohabiting partner of the head of the house.

Would you rather move back home or get a handout?

Ashlea Ebeling
By Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes Staff

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