Including Everybody in Doubled-up Households

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

We just had meetings of two of our advisory committees at our Suitland headquarters. The members come from all parts of the country and bring with them different perspectives on key issues facing the Census Bureau.

One issue came up in both discussions – how will the 2010 Census handle doubled-up households?

The recent spate of foreclosures and the high unemployment rates have led many families to change how they live. Some have moved in with relatives and friends. How will these folks be included in the 2010 Census?

It’s important for all of us to know that everyone should be counted where they’re living (their “usual residence”) on April 1, 2010. If I lose my job and my wife and I move in with my brother, then I should be included on the census form sent to my brother’s home. Neither my brother nor I may think of myself as a permanent resident of his house. But, I have no other residence, and hence my brother’s home is my “usual residence” at the time of the census.

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4 Responses to Including Everybody in Doubled-up Households

  1. pds says:

    Great issue. I was thinking about this very question for myself. There are 2 families living in one big house. We’ve chosen to live this way, but we are definitely two families. Would we be counted as one household?

  2. kev@censusstaff says:

    You would be counted as one household even though you are two families. A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit. The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated people who share living arrangements.
    A good resource for responses to questions such as this, is the FAQs section on the Census Bureau’s website home page or at The FAQ section contains reviewed and approved response to questions that have already been created.

  3. pds says:

    I don’t mean any disrespect here, but your page leaves much to be desired. I’m a geographer, and even I have no idea where to find the answer to my question in that list. It’s far from user friendly, and it looks like it’s built for geographers / map-makers / data-crunchers.
    I also take issue with being counted as one family. Even though it is zoned as a Single Family Residence, there are two distinct living areas. I don’t like the idea of having one head of household, etc. I do understand the need to accurately reflect the number of persons living in one house, but that doesn’t take into account the creativity in households.

  4. Ben K says:

    I feel this is a important issue for the 2010 census and really gets youwondering. I agree that during this economy many people are not even living at there own homes and that including them should be a priority. I am wondering though are these two or more families in one household counted as one household or two different?

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