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Roomers and Boarders: 1880-2005. Melissa Scopilliti, University of Maryland , Maryland Population Research Center; Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau Martin O’Connell , Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the

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roomers and boarders 1880 2005

Roomers and Boarders: 1880-2005

Melissa Scopilliti,University of Maryland, Maryland Population Research Center; Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau

Martin O’Connell, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the

Population Associationof America,

New Orleans, LA

April 17-19, 2008

slide2

Roomer, Boarder

  • A person who lives in a household and makes cash or noncash payments (e.g. chores) to the householder for their living accommodations (Census 2000 documentation).
  • Research Questions
  • How does the roomer and boarder population vary across time?
  • What are the characteristics of roomers and boarders?
  • Who are the householders who rent to roomers and boarders?
slide3
Data
  • Data was obtained through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) available through the Minnesota Population Center.
  • Data are from the 1880, 1900-1960 one-percent sample, 1970 form 2 (15 percent state sample), 1990-2000 five-percent sample, and the 2005 ACS sample. 1890 Census data are not available to researchers.

Definitions

  • The definition of a household has changed over time. The analysis is restricted to roomers and boarders living in households with fewer than five unrelated individuals.
  • In 1960-1990 foster children were included in the roomer and boarder group. Estimated numbers of foster children for these years were removed from the analysis. We defined them as unrelated persons under age 18 residing in households containing no unrelated individuals over age 18 (that might be their parent).
relationship question across time
Relationship Question Across Time

Roomers and boarders are identified by the relationship to the householder question on the Census and ACS questionnaire.

1900-1930

1940

1960

2000

1990

slide7
The total number of roomers and boarders peaked in the 1930 Census at 3.8 million and has been on the decline.
  • The number of male roomers and boarders is higher than the number of female roomers and boarders for every time period, although this gap narrowed mid-century.
  • Although the number of roomers and boarders increased from 1900 to 1930, the total household population also increased, resulting in little change in roomers and boarders as a percentage of the total household population (about 3 percent).
  • As a percentage of the population, roomers and boarders made up about 3 percent of the household population between 1900 and 1930. By Census 2000, roomers and boarders comprised about 0.5 percent of the population.
slide10
The number and proportion of households containing a roomer or boarder has declined since 1930.
  • During the 1930 census, there were 2.6 million households containing a roomer or boarder, representing 9 percent of all households. By Census 2000, the number fell to 1.1 million or 1 percent of all households.
  • Female householders were more likely to take in a roomer or boarder than male householders in the early to mid 1900s. Before 1980, married women living with their spouses were not tabulated by the Census Bureau as being a householder.
  • In recent decades, similar proportions of male and female householders live with a roomer or boarder.
slide15
Male Householders in Units Containing a Roomer or Boarder by Marital Status (Age 15+): 1880-2005(Percent Distribution)
slide16
Female Householders in Units Containing a Roomer or Boarder by Marital Status (Age 15+): 1880-2005(Percent Distribution)
slide17
The total number of roomers and boarders peaked in 1930 at 3.8 million, and has been on the decline.
    • In the late 1920s the depression may have led more people to live in rooming and boarding arrangements because of the bleak economic conditions.
    • In the 1930s, the government began public housing projects and housing assistance. This coupled with better economic conditions may have contributed to the drop in the roomer and boarder population during the mid 1900s.
    • More recently, economic conditions, greater stock of apartments, and growth in the housemate/roommate population may account for the lower numbers of persons in rooming and boarding arrangements.
slide18
The number and percentage of men who live as roomers and boarders has always been greater than that of women.
    • In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, international migration and the movement to urban areas might affect the proportion of men and women as roomers and boarders.
    • Men predominated in these early migrations and may have obtained temporary housing until they became more settled in an area.
slide19
The percent of householders residing with a roomer or boarder has declined over time, from a high of 10 percent in 1900 to one percent in 2000.
    • Female householders were more likely to reside with a roomer or boarder than male householders until recent decades.
    • Women living with adult men, particularly married women, were unlikely to be considered a householder/head of household in the early and mid 1900s.
    • Over one-half of female householders who let out rooms between 1880 and 1960 were widows.
slide20
Roomers and boarders are concentrated in the younger age groups.
    • Men and women in their 20s and early 30s are relatively early in their work careers and family formation and may not have sufficient economic and social networks to establish their own dwelling.
    • Since 1950, between 20 percent and 45 percent of roomers and boarders age 18-24 were enrolled in school.
    • Only 5 percent of roomers and boarders in 2000 were age 65 and over, down from 17 percent in 1960. Changes in the availability of nursing homes over this period may account for some of these changes.
    • Most roomer-boarder housing units contain only one roomer or boarder.
slide21
The proportion of roomers and boarders who are Hispanic has increased in recent decades.
    • The rise the proportion of roomers and boarders who are Hispanic reflects the rise in the Hispanic origin population among the total U.S. population.
    • Hispanics make up a larger percent of the roomer boarder population than in the U.S. population overall.
      • Between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of the roomer and boarder population that is Hispanic rose from 15 percent to 25 percent, compared with 9 percent and 13 percent in the U.S. population in 1990 and 2000 respectively.
    • Among roomer-boarder housing units, the proportion with a Hispanic householder also increased from 12 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2000.
slide22
Male householders of roomer-boarder housing units were more likely to be married, spouse present before 1970, whereas the largest proportion of female householders were widowed during this time period.
    • Widowed women householders may have been more likely in the past to take in a roomer or boarder to supplement their income prior to the development of governmental assistance programs. In 1880, three-quarters of these householders were widows.
    • In 2000, among roomer-boarder housing units, 40 percent of male householders and 35 percent of female householders were never married.
contact information
Contact Information

Fertility and Family Statistics Branch

301-763-2416

Melissa Scopilliti

mscopilliti@socy.umd.edu

Melissa.Scopilliti@census.gov

Martin O’Connell

Martin.T.OConnell@census.gov