Battered by the recent recession, millions of Americans “enacted their own anti-poverty program” by moving in with relatives, resulting in the largest increase in multi-generation households in modern history, a new Pew Resarch Center analysis of U.S. Census data says.

The number of Americans living in multi-generation households has been growing steadily since 1980, driven by demographic changes including a later marriage age and increased immigration, Rakesh Kochhar and D’Vera Cohn say in the Pew report, but the total spiked between 2007 and 2009 from 46.5 million to 51.4 million.

The move appears to have economic benefits: The poverty rate among those living in multi-generation households was 11.5 percent, compared with 14.6 percent among other households.

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