Measuring Doubled-Up Homelessness with Census Microdata
Richard, Molly K
Some definitions of homelessness include doubling up—living with others due to economic hardship or housing loss. Doubling up can have negative consequences, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development methods for enumerating literal homelessness exclude these arrangements, and Department of Education counts of doubling up include only school children. Using the most recent American Community Survey public use microdata, this study estimates that 3.7 million people in the U.S. population were doubled up in 2019. It also shows significant differences in doubling up by region, race and ethnicity, gender, marital status, educational attainment, and employment status, and compares these findings to research on sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. Findings suggest that policies addressing homelessness and housing insecurity consider those experiencing doubled-up homelessness, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences.