Concealed families are on the rise, new figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown.
More homes are being shared between two or more families. There has been a 70% increase in this type of household between 2001 and 2011.
The 2011 census showed that there were 289,000 concealed families in England and Wales. In 2001 there were only 170,000 families of this type in the UK.
The make-up of concealed families varies widely. 44 percent of concealed families constituted a young couple living with older parents. 10 percent included an older couple (one partner over the age of 65) who lives with an adult child and their family. The most frequently concealed family type was lone parents who live with family members.
London was the area identified with the highest proportion of concealed families at nearly 3.3 percent.
The ONS has suggested a number of reasons for the increase in concealed families including: “housing availability and cost in relation to employment and earnings, and cultural differences in living arrangements and familial ties”.
“The reasons for families living in multi-family households will vary by area, and therefore the types of concealed families will differ,” the ONS said. “The types of family concealed may relate to demographic and cultural differences between local populations in addition to economic influences such as the cost of housing locally.”
Gingerbread, a charity for single parents, expressed their concern over the new figures. Fiona Weir, Gingerbread’s chief executive, told the Guardian: “These figures reflect the harsh realities of today’s housing market, stagnant wages and cuts to benefits. Too many single parents have no alternative but to move back in with mum and dad, as they simply can’t afford a home for their family on their own.”