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More Oklahomans needed public assistance in 2011, Census Bureau says

Despite the falling unemployment rate in Oklahoma, more people needed food stamps and welfare assistance.
by Chris Casteel Modified: November 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012

“Oklahoma, for instance, has the second highest rate of job creation in the country over the last 12 months. At 5.7 percent, our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country. Furthermore, Oklahoma is experiencing broad based economic growth, with median household income increasing 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, the fastest growth rate in the U.S.”

And he said the governor was promoting policies to create jobs and lift up “Oklahoma families who have fallen on hard times, thus reducing the need for families to seek public assistance.”

Shared households

In a separate study, the Census Bureau reported that the amount of “shared households” fell slightly in Oklahoma from 2010 to 2011.

The bureau defines “shared households” as those with a resident 18 or older who is not the householder or spouse; students aged 18 to 24 aren't defined as additional adults.

In 2011, 15.9 percent of Oklahoma households had “additional adults,” down from 16.3 percent in 2010. The rate in 2007 was 14.6 percent.

Nationally, the number and percentage of additional adults in households rose in 40 states from 2007 to 2011, with the largest increases in the South and West, the Census Bureau reported.

“There is some evidence that these shifts in living arrangements had an economic dimension,” the report says. “Many of the adults sharing a household with relatives would have been in poverty if they had been living on their own.”

In 2011, nearly one in five households in the United States met the Census Bureau definition of a shared household.

In Oklahoma last year, nearly 80 percent of the additional adults in a shared household were relatives — the child, sibling, parent or other relative of the householder.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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