Analysis of data from the 2011 census showed there were 289,000 "concealed families" in England and Wales – couples and families who share a property with the main householders – compared with 170,000 in 2001.
The increase, which was 10 times the rise in the number of other families, was likely to relate to a number of factors, the ONS said, including "housing availability and cost in relation to employment and earnings, and cultural differences in living arrangements and familial ties".
The figures include young people living with a partner and/or children in the same household as their parents; older couples living with an adult child and their family; and unrelated families sharing a household.
The majority of concealed families (63%) were couples with or without children, in common with the overall trend, although the proportion was lower. In contrast, single parent families accounted for 37% of concealed familes, compared with just 18% of unconcealed households.
The figures underline the difficulties some people are having in affording a home of their own – an issue which the ONS recently revealed had led to record numbers of adults still living with their parents. To compound the problem for those families who want a home of their own, some local councils have recently excluded them from social housing lists.
Across England and Wales, concealed families accounted for just 1.8% of households, but in London the proportion rose to 3.3% and in the West Midlands it was 2.2%.
The London borough of Newham was the local authority with the largest proportion, at 7.5%, followed by Brent.
"The reasons for families living in multi-family households will vary by area, and therefore the types of concealed families will differ," the ONS said. "The types of family concealed may relate to demographic and cultural differences between local populations in addition to economic influences such as the cost of housing locally."
While in Knowsley, Merseyside, single parent families made up 55% of all concealed families, in Harrow, north-west London, the figure was 13%. In West Devon the incidence of older couples sharing someone else's home was higher than other parts of the country.
The census found there were 15.8 million families in households in England and Wales in 2011, 92% of which were living in one family households. The remainder included households of more than one family – those made up of one family and other unrelated adults.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis, said the rise in concealed households was a "deeply concerning trend". "A concealed household today is potentially a homeless person tomorrow – with homelessness rising, the government needs to address the chronic lack of affordable housing and urgently consider the impact its cuts to housing benefit are having, particularly in the capital."
Fiona Weir, the single parent charity Gingerbread's chief executive, said: "These figures reflect the harsh realities of today's housing market, stagnant wages and cuts to benefits. Too many single parents have no alternative but to move back in with mum and dad, as they simply can't afford a home for their family on their own."