The Effect of Unemployment on Household Composition and Doubling Up

Emily Wiemers, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Doubling up with family and friends is one way in which individuals and families can cope with job loss but there is little work on how prevalent this form of resource sharing is and to what extent families use co-residence to weather a spell of unemployment. This project uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide some of the first evidence on the relationship between household composition and unemployment across working ages. Using the transitions in living arrangements and employment status in the SIPP panels, I find that individuals who become unemployed are twice as likely to move in with others. The issue of how families change household composition to weather bad economic times is especially relevant as unemployment and poverty remain at historically high levels.

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Presented in Session 61: Public Policy and Families Around the World