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Living Arrangements of Children: 2009

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Report Number P70-126


This report examines the diversity of children’s living arrangements in households in the United States. The data are from the household relationship module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) collected in early 2009.1 This is an update of an earlier report based on data from the 2004 SIPP Panel.2

Detailed information was obtained on each person’s relationship to every other person in the household at the time of interview, permitting the identification of various types of relatives and parent-child and sibling relationships. This report includes descriptions of extended family households with relatives and nonrelatives, whose presence may influence a child’s development and contribute to the household’s economic well-being. It also examines the degree to which children are living in single-parent families or with stepparents, adoptive parents, or no parents while in the care of another relative or a guardian.

Various factors influence the diversity of children’s living arrangements, including parental death, divorce, remarriage, births to unmarried women, cohabitation of unmarried parents, and multigenerational families. Forty percent of births today are to unmarried mothers, and these children may grow up in single-parent families or spend significant portions of their lives with other relatives or stepparents.3 Immigration may also influence the type of household and family in which children grow up, when families provide housing for their immigrant relatives and friends. Hispanics constitute a large component of new immigrants to the United States, and this factor is evident in these children’s living situations.4

1 The data in this report were collected from January through April 2009 in the second wave (interview) of the 2008 SIPP Panel. The population represented (the population universe) is the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in households with children under 18 years old in the United States. Detailed tables for this report can be accessed on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site at <www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/child/la-child.html>. The items asked in the household relationship topical module, which include detailed relationships of all household members to all others, are also available on the Census Bureau’s Web site at <www.census.gov/sipp/core_content/2008/questswave2/2008w2core.pdf>.

2 Kreider, Rose M., “Living Arrangements of Children: 2004,” Current Population Reports, P70-114, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2008, available at <www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-114.pdf>.

3 Martin, Joyce A., M.P.H.; Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D.; Paul D. Sutton, Ph.D.; Stephanie J. Ventura, M.A.; T.J. Mathews, M.S.; Sharon Kirmeyer, Ph.D.; and Michelle J.K. Osterman, M.H.S.; “Births: Final Data 2007,” National Vital Statistics Reports, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD, 2010, Vol. 58, No. 24.

Kennedy, Sheela and Larry Bumpass, “Cohabitation and Children’s Living Arrangements: New Estimates From the United States,” Demographic Research, 2008. Vol. 19, pp. 1663–1692.

4 Because Hispanics may be any race, data in this report for Hispanics overlap with data for the White, Black, and Asian populations. Based on the population under 18 years old in the 2008 SIPP panel, Wave 2, 26 percent of the White-alone population, 9 percent of the Black-alone population, and 2 percent of the Asian-alone population were also Hispanic.

Grieco, Liz, “Race and Hispanic Origin of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2007,” American Community Survey Reports, ACS-11, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2010, available at <www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acs-11.pdf>.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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