What does this measure?
The percentage of households composed of married couples (with and without children), singles, and other variations.
Why is this important?
Changes in the types of households in a community can provide insight into the changing structure of families and the proportions of singles living alone.
How is our county doing?
Married couples with children comprised 20% of Essex County households in 2017-21, down from 25% in 2000. The percentage of households composed of single parents who live with their children increased from 9% to 11%. There was little or no change for other household types. In 2017-21, married couples without children and individuals who live alone were the two most common household types (28% and 27% respectively). Less common were individuals living with relatives (8%) or non-relatives (6%). The County rates were very similar to state and national rates.
The share of single-parent households with children was particularly high in Lawrence (24%), which also had lower percentages of married-couple households, both with children (16%) and without children (15%). The City also had a higher percentage of households composed of individuals living with relatives (13%).
How do we compare to similar counties?
The overall proportions of household types in the comparison counties was fairly similar to Essex. But in 2017-21, all three comparison counties had slightly lower percentages of single-parent households with children than Essex County. The shares of married-couple households with children also were higher than Essex in all three comparison counties: 23% in Middlesex, MA, 24% in Westchester, NY and 26% in Lake, IL. There were fewer individuals living alone in Lake, IL (23%) and more individuals living with non-relatives in Middlesex (10%).
Notes about the data
The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.