Not too long ago, when your child grew up and became an adult, he or she would get a job, move out and start their own family.

But in these tough economic times, that's becoming the exception rather than the rule.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of shared households increased by almost 11.5% between 2007 and 2010 - to 22 million.

A shared household includes adults who are not in school, and have moved in with family members, or other people they're not romantically involved with.

Rutgers Sociology professor Dr. Deborah Carr says when young adults - in their 20's and 30's - wind up back home with mom and dad, it can be difficult and even embarrassing.

"I suspect that very few of these young people are moving back with their parents or finding roommates by choice.  They're facing perhaps one of the worst economies we've seen in decades," she said.

She says, "I think it definitely does have a negative effect- that people are questioning themselves - but I think most young people today know that they're doing poorly financially due to no fault of their own -when they look around and see that their peers and friends are doing something similar, it helps to take the edge off a bit - they're not alone in this predicament."

Dr. Carr adds having older kids living back at home can create real friction, at least in the short term, because "The child is in kind of a funny position - that they are an adult in many ways, but in their parents eyes they're still a child- whether or not they're financially stable or not, parents still sometimes cannot break out of that roll."

At the same time, she points out these types of family "reunions" aren't necessarily unhealthy.

She explains, "Because at the end of the day, when someone has a crisis they turn to their family members - and another way to look at it is, isn't it incredibly fortunate.  When someone reaches their low point financially, they have a family who's willing to absorb them? If the family is close-knit, this unexpected time together can be really nice and protective…provided they already had a good relationship at the base."

Dr. Carr also says this is not new historically.

"We've had a history in the United States and elsewhere of extended families living together, especially during times of crisis…And I think there's a lot of hand-wringing today about young people, but most of them will get their bearings and they'll go on to have successful careers and marriages and home-ownership like the rest of us."