LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada's households were more multigenerational in 2010, with adult children, grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, in-laws, adult siblings and roommates all living under one roof, according to Census statistics released Wednesday.
The data suggests some Nevadans turned to family to survive a brutal economic recession that brought record foreclosures, joblessness and bankruptcies to a state that entered the new millennium with low unemployment and a taste for newly constructed homes.
"There are people sleeping in every vacant room they can," said Mike Young, president of the Nevada Association of Realtors. "They are struggling, and it shows the breadth of the problems we have."
Nevadans weren't too picky about who they shacked up with in 2010. They also shared a roof with extended family members and nonrelatives that year, according to the Census.
For example, in 2000, nearly 47,000 homeowners were living with relatives other than a spouse, child, sibling or parent. In 2010, that number grew to nearly 79,000, including more than 23,600 nieces, nephews, cousins or other relatives under 18.
The number of unrelated housemates also increased, with more people living with roommates, unmarried partners and other nonrelatives. Still, only 16 percent of Nevadans lived with people they weren't related to.
Much older housemates were not uncommon. Grandchildren also increasingly turned to their grandparents for shelter, with that population growing from nearly 35,000 in 2000 to 62,000 in 2010. Adult children bunked with their elders, too, with the number of adult children living with their parents nearly doubling from 2010 to 2000, growing to 7 percent of the population, up from 5.4 percent in 2000.
Meanwhile, more homeowners let their parents or siblings move in, according to the Census. In all, roughly 5.4 percent of Nevada homes are multigenerational.
Hispanics had the largest average family size, with 3.98 people, followed by Asians, blacks and then whites, with 3.02 people.
The shifts could reflect Nevada's record boom during the last decade, when it grew by 35 percent, the largest percent in the nation. Census data does not detail cause and effect; it's merely a snapshot of a state at a given time.
But sociologists and housing experts said stories of one-roof families became more widespread after Nevada's robust job market started to shrink in 2008. The state's unemployment rate in June was 12.4 percent, the highest in the nation.
Economic downturns are likely to send adult children back to their parent's homes, often with the grandchildren in tow, while spousal loss and declining health can push parents into the homes of their adult children, according to a University of Nevada, Las Vegas sociology study from August 2010.
The study predicted that Nevada's ongoing economic recession and housing crises would have profound effects on household relationships and encourage more multigenerational living.
Paul Bell, a longtime real estate agent in southern Nevada and president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, said he has observed more grandchildren and children moving home to help their aging grandparents and parents.
Recent graduates are also returning home to save money, he said.
"The unemployment rate is definitely having that type of impact," he said.