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A multigenerational household is defined as including two or more adult generations or including grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25. And their prevalence is growing -even here in Northern Virginia.
The rates of multigenerational living hit a low of only 12% in the 1980s, but that number has steadily grown to 20% (64 million Americans) today. There was a sharp increase during the 2007-2009 Great Recession when many Americans lost their homes and were forced to combine households. And while it has slowed back down it is still growing more rapidly than it was before the recession. Experts can’t point to one single factor for the growing trend but instead, list multiple reasons.
One factor is that increased life expectancy may make it financially necessary for older Americans to move in with their children rather than into assisted living facilities. Also, with more women in the workforce having grandparents in-house to help with the child-rearing is a benefit.
It’s not just parents moving in with their children, in many instances, children are moving back in, or living longer, with their parents. This could be due to the unsteady job market, rising education debts, and the delay of marriages. Financial security is taking longer for many of the younger generations to reach.
Another reason is the growing racial diversity of the country. While there is growth among all demographics, minority Americans and immigrants have a higher percentage of multigenerational living than white Americans. Some of which may be based on cultural expectations.
Along with the financial benefits to this living arrangement, research shows that grandchildren who are close with their grandparents have less emotional or behavior problems, may be better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and are more respectful of other older people. Also, when the grandparents feel useful and are more engaged they suffer less from loneliness and depression.
Hopefully, that will outweigh some of the conflicts that may arise when your parents question your parenting.
41% of Americans say they are in the market for homes that can accommodate multigenerational families, either to take care of aging parents or to just spend more time together. And it’s not a one size fits all situation. There are many options if you’re considering multigenerational living. Duplexes, multiplexes, or homes with two master suites. A few months ago I published a blog on this topic about adding a “Granny Pod” to your property. And, this trend has caught the attention of national home builders who have begun designing homes with multiple family-living in mind, some with completely different living spaces under one roof.
Multigenerational living is not for everyone, and it comes with plenty of adjustments and compromise, but in the end, the benefits may just outweigh the struggles.
As always, I am here to help with all your home buying needs. Are you considering a multigenerational living situation? Let's talk about it.
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