Multigenerational Households on the Rise
By George Anderson
In other cultures and earlier in this nation’s history, it was not unusual for three and sometimes four generations of a family to live under the same roof. That has not been true in much of American society for many years. That is, until recently.
As a report in The New York Times reveals, multigenerational households are the fastest growing living arrangement as quantified by the U.S. Census Bureau.
While multigenerational households represent a small portion of the overall number – only 4.2 percent, or 4 million, of total dwellings – the growth of this form of living arrangement increased 38 percent between 1990 and 2000.
The increase in multigenerational households is already having an effect on a number of industries including architects and construction. So-called mother/daughter units are on the rise and amenities, such as larger kitchens, are being incorporated into homes to allow for more people.
Carlos Elenes of EBTA Architects told the Times, “You see a lot more people dedicating a portion of their homes to loved ones.”
Many families are moving in together because of the high cost of housing in markets such as California.
“There’s a financial aspect, but also people are realizing the importance of staying connected to their roots,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “Families have been scattered for so many years, and there’s a reversal of that trend.”
Moderator’s Comment: What would you say is the biggest reason behind the rise in multigenerational families in the
U.S.? How are multigenerational families and other recent so-called non-traditional householders having an effect on retailing and consumer products manufacturing?
– George Anderson – Moderator