Multi-generational Living – Is it for you and your family? - America's Best House Plans Blog (2024)

Immediately following World War II, the extended family household lost favor with the American public; by 1940, one-quarter of the population lived in one and by 1980, fewer than 13% of Americans lived in a multi-generational home. A wide range of demographic factors likely contributed to the decline; the growth of suburbia and the focus on the nuclear family; a decline in the immigrant population, and a sharp rise in the health and economic comfort of an aging population. With the Great Depression and the Second World War in the rear view mirror, many Americans felt safe in committing to the idea of a single generation, nuclear family lifestyle nestled in suburbia. As in many trends, the cyclical nature of multi-generational living has now reversed and for many, the reversal can be contributed to the decades old reasoning of social and economic factors; what was old is now new again. There are also a number of new factors that may explain the increase in America’s multi-generational households – delayed marriage patterns, longer life expectancy/an aging population, the 21th century recession/housing crisis and grown children returning home to live while they face crushing student loan debt and the inability to find meaningful and financially rewarding jobs.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau multi-generational families are those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof and many researchers also include households with a grandparent and at least one other generation. Multi-generational households have rapidly increased in the last few years with one in six Americans currently living in a multi-generational household; this number having risen from 46.5 million in 2007 to 51.4 million by year’s end 2009, a whopping 10.5% increase in just three years. Demographics is a driving trend of this spectrum; baby boomers would normally be, at least, considering downsizing but many are actually trading up. While facing their own health/economic concerns, many baby boomers are caring for their elderly parents and have children of their own still living at home. Another driving factor is the surge in the immigration population, chiefly seen in the Asian and Hispanic population, where families are much more inclined to live in multi-generational households.

Oftentimes, boomers do not want to put their aging parents into a nursing home or assisted living facility; instead, they are looking to build a home where all family members can contribute to the economic and psychological well-being of the extended family. Also, there is great peace of mind gained when elderly parents are close by and can be cared for intimately by family members. And this gain is not just for the elderly parent’s well-being, much research has proven that the benefits of having grandparents in the home increases the emotional and practical benefits for every member of the family. Creating multi-generational households is a great alternative for many families looking for strong, mutually beneficial inter-generational relationships. Even when aging parents face debilitating medical costs and challenges, such as dementia; the family may delay and even avoid the literal and emotional costs of a parent living out the remainder of their lives in a medical facility. One of the most satisfying results multi-generational households produce can be the budding relationship between its youngest and oldest members. Grandparents provide important role models for children and society by imparting a sense of continuity, helping to develop respect and teach empathy for all ages of life. Grandparents also reap benefits from consistently being around and spending time with their grandchildren; oftentimes, engaging in youthful activities and conversations they otherwise may miss adding a deeper and rich purpose to their lives. Multi-generational families produce a host of benefits for everyone involved – providing constant companionship, assisting and supporting one another and bringing family members together to share in lifelong memories.

In response to the ever changing demographics of homeowners, many home designers have developed in-law suites, basem*nt expansion plans and attached or semi-detached guest suites. These cutting edge designed suites are often self-contained accommodations that include a bedroom, full bath, a kitchen or kitchenette and a living area, ideal for aging in place and providing opportunities for people to live independently but together. Creating a multi-generational household is a great alternative for many families looking for ways to deepen their most meaningful relationships and experience the highest level of emotional bonding across generations.

Multi-generational Living – Is it for you and your family? - America's Best House Plans Blog (5)

Brandon Hall

Our "go to guy" and company expert, Brandon is the visionary and dreamer of all we do here at America's Best House Plans. He manages quality assurance, audits existing processes for maximum effectiveness, and develops strategies to increase productivity and efficiency. With over 15 years experience in the home design industry, Brandon has a hand in every aspect of the day-to-day operations of our company, in addition to ensuring an unparalleled level of service to our customers.

Multi-generational Living – Is it for you and your family? - America's Best House Plans Blog (2024)

FAQs

What are some disadvantages of multi gen homes? ›

There are also disadvantages of multi-generation households.
  • Less Privacy. “Living with others may be more difficult for grandparents and young adults who are accustomed to living alone.
  • More Noise. ...
  • More Housework. ...
  • Need for Upgrade or Remodeling.

Are multigenerational homes a good idea? ›

The Benefits of Multi-Generational Living

That's especially important for elderly residents, as a number of studies have demonstrated a link between longevity and social interaction. If grandparents and grandkids are living under the same roof, it also allows those two generations to create deeper connections.

What does multi generational living mean? ›

Multigenerational homes (also known as multi-gen homes) typically house more than one adult generation of family members in the same home.

What percent of adults age 65+ live in a multigenerational household? ›

Children were the most likely age group to live in this housing, with 11.4% of people under 18 living in multigenerational households, compared with 8.8% of people ages 18 to 24, 6.5% of people over 65, and 7.1% of adults ages 25 to 64.

What are 3 benefits for living in a multigenerational house? ›

Benefits of Multigenerational Households

The families also cite many benefits of living together, including: Enhanced bonds or relationships among family members (79%) Making it easier to provide for the care needs of one or more family members (79%) Improved finances for at least one family member (76%)

What are the disadvantages of living in a multi generational family? ›

Drawbacks of Multigenerational Living
  • Less Privacy. While multigenerational homes are often set up in a way that makes them conducive to more privacy, others feel a multigenerational setup offers less privacy. ...
  • Too Much Togetherness. ...
  • Potential for Conflicts. ...
  • Shared Expenses. ...
  • Legal Complications. ...
  • Lifestyle Adjustments.
Oct 10, 2022

Where is the best place for multigenerational families to live? ›

California takes the crown.

Hispanic families tend to form multi-generational households at much higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, and California boasts a large Hispanic population. Together, California and Texas dominated our top 25 list.

Who is least likely to live in a multigenerational household? ›

White, non-Hispanic children were the least likely to live in a multigenerational household, at 7.8%.

Which race is most likely to live in multigenerational households? ›

The Differences Within Race and Ethnicity

Let's look at the numbers—in a 2021 Pew Study, 26% of Black and Hispanic households were3% of white households. At 29%, Asian American households had the highest share of multigenerational households.

How do you survive multigenerational living? ›

Tips for living in a multigenerational household
  1. Create separate spaces as well as common spaces. ...
  2. Respect each other's time, space, and rules. ...
  3. Communicate expectations and feelings openly. ...
  4. Create opportunities for caregivers to recharge. ...
  5. Incorporate intergenerational activities to boost bonding.
Jun 6, 2022

What does a multi generational home look like? ›

Multi generational home floor plans typically include features like multiple living areas, more than one kitchen, and separate entrances to maximize privacy. Large common areas like great rooms, open kitchens, and extended outdoor living spaces are also common in multi generational homes.

How do multi generational homes work? ›

This could look like a home with grandparents living with their children and grandchildren, a home with parents and their adult children, or even a four-generation home. In a multigenerational home, each generation will benefit from having their own separate space and privacy.

What percentage of Americans live past 90? ›

According to US government statistics, about 24% of people live to age 90 or above, based on 2012 data published in 2016. Of course, that masks some considerable differences by sex and race; and surely, by some other characteristics not reported (such as urban vs.

Where do older people prefer to live? ›

Most of us live in the types of homes we will age in: the vast majority live in mainstream housing, and 80% of older people say they want to stay in their own home as they age. Specialised housing – such as sheltered accommodation or retirement villages – is one part of the solution.

What percentage of 65 year olds live alone? ›

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, about 27 percent of American seniors live solo, similar to what's found in the rest of North America and Europe, but 10 percentage points higher than the global average.

What are the disadvantages of housing? ›

The disadvantages of houses

Like everything else, however, houses also have their drawbacks. This type of property is typically more expensive to buy, has higher maintenance costs and requires you to spend more time cleaning it.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of old house? ›

The Pros and Cons of Buying an Old House
  • Con: Outdated building code compliance and other maintenance. ...
  • Pro: Location, location, location. ...
  • Con: Lack of storage space. ...
  • Pro: Cost. ...
  • Pro: Availability and furnishings. ...
  • Pro and Con: Eclectic neighborhoods. ...
  • Pro: A long-term investment (if upkeep isn't too pricey)

What are the disadvantages of traditional single family housing? ›

  • Higher maintenance costs. With more interior space and exterior elements, single-family homes tend to have more elements that require maintenance compared to other types of properties.
  • Costly upfront investment. ...
  • Responsibility for repairs.
Aug 23, 2023

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