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New Report Uncovers Growing Phenomenon of Colorado Households Doubling Up

Colorado households have markedly doubled up since the Great Recession, with 25 percent doubled up in 2017 compared to 20 percent in 2006. And whereas all household growth increased 16 percent, doubled-up households increased 34 percent. Perhaps most striking is that the number of children under 6 declined in non-doubled up households, while that population increased almost 25 percent in doubled up households.

It’s a growing trend uncovered in a new report from Shift Research Lab, in partnership with Phyllis Resnick, PhD—Doubled-Up Households in Colorado: How Prevalent is this Phenomenon in 2006 vs. 2017?—that adds questions to whether housing supply has started to catch up or if sizable demand is hidden within doubled-up households.

Following on the 2018 report, Exploring Colorado’s Housing Affordability Challenges, which concluded the state’s affordability challenge was most affected by demand outstripping supply, this report is part one of two in researching the largely unexplored phenomenon that more Coloradans are living with friends, roommates and family members in doubled-up households.

Here are a few of the report’s findings from 2006 to 2017:

  • 88 percent of the growth of children under 18 occurred in doubled-up households
  • Doubled-up households contain between 20 and 25 percent of very young children and the aging
  • 60 percent of doubled-up households are in owner-occupied units
  • Doubled-up family households are more than twice as common as doubled-up non-family (predominantly roommates) households

Part two of the report, planned for a late 2019 release, will explore in depth what doubling up means economically for Colorado, including issues surrounding income, workforce, housing affordability, and housing policy.

“Although there has recently been discussion that the supply-demand balance is becoming healthier, a surprise may be awaiting as a wave of demand could come from the existing doubled-up household population,” said co-author, Phyllis Resnick, PhD.

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