09 11. 2018
THE RETURN OF THE MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLD64 million households, or 20% of the U.S. population, are multigenerational. A multigenerational household is defined as a household with two or more adult generations or one with grandparents and grandchildren. And the rise of the multigenerational household is affecting how people shop for homes. John Burns Real Estate Consulting conducted a survey among 20,000 home shoppers. The survey found that 44% of these home shoppers would like a home that could accommodate elderly parents. Another 42% would like a home that could accommodate adult children.
WHY MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS ARE ON THE RISEThere are a number of reasons that account for the rise of the multigenerational household:
- The Great Recession resulted in a huge loss of employment for young adults. This loss in employment meant many graduates needed to return home after college. Pew Research studies show that unemployed adults are more likely to live in multigenerational households. Young adults are also getting married at later ages and staying in school longer, which means they stay at home longer.
- Boomerang children also account for a rise in multigenerational living. Children return home to live with their parents for many reasons: high student loan debt, rising rents, job loss, foreclosure, and divorce, just to name a few.
- Americans are living much longer. This means older people are retiring later and leading active lifestyles later in life. But adding extra years to retirement means the nest egg must be stretched out. Many older adults simply can’t afford to live longer on the retirement they’ve saved, so they move in with their adult children. In the next two decades, the number of people over 80 will double from 6 million to 12 million.
- There has been an increase in immigration since the 1970s. In 1980, 20% of the population was racial and ethnic. Today that number has risen to 37%. Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in a multigenerational household. In 2016 alone, 29% of Asians in the U.S lived in multigenerational households, as well as 27% of Hispanics, 27% of blacks, and 16% of whites.
THE BENEFITS OF MULTIGENERATIONAL LIVINGFor many people, the idea of living with family—especially multiple generations of family—doesn’t sound ideal. But there are many benefits to living in a multigenerational household. Aside from the obvious—family members looking after, helping, and supporting one another—the following benefits can be enjoyed:
- Caregiving becomes easier, whether it’s for a small child or an elderly adult. Having more people in the house to help out relieves the strain.
- Children in single-parent households that include grandparents show better performance at school.
- Older adults who spend more time with grandchildren live longer.
- In the case of divorce, grandparents can give grandchildren undivided attention, especially when a single parent is overwhelmed.
- Everyone benefits financially, as everyone shares in the financial responsibility.
HOW TO MAKE MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS WORKLiving in a multigenerational household isn’t for everyone. But for those who’ve made it work successfully, there are many tips to consider:
- Establish the financial responsibilities from the get-go. Maybe everyone shares equal financial responsibility, but if that’s not possible, try to agree on a trade of service. For example, dividing up chores such as cleaning and cooking in lieu of paying bills.
- Set family meetings regularly. This is an opportunity to share family concerns, discuss any issues, and come up with resolutions.
- Establish family rituals and routines to bring the family together. Special family projects, movie nights, game nights, and family dinners are all great suggestions.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Just because you live under the same roof, doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time together. Everyone needs private time.
- Be flexible. If issues arise and the current rules aren’t working for everyone, maybe it’s time to try something new. Being flexible will give the family a chance to keep trying new things until everyone is happiest.