Doubling up as a Private Safety Net for Families with Children

Natasha Pilkauskas, Columbia University
Irwin Garfinkel, Columbia University
Sara McLanahan, Princeton University

Low-income families rely on a number of support systems, both public and private, to survive. Private support through doubling up is relatively common but little longitudinal research has studied doubling up and even less has looked at families with young children. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (N~4989) we examine the prevalence, composition, and patterns of transition of doubling up among families with young children, the economic value of doubling up, and the association between the Great Recession and doubling up. We find that doubling up is a very important form of private support and there are large differences by relationship status; nearly 50% of mothers have doubled up by the time their child is 9-years old and the estimated value of doubling is up is about $3500 per year. We also find that the Great Recession is associated with increased odds of doubling up.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 134: Non-Marital and Diverse Family Forms