March 23, 2016

Multi-Generational Living is Back in Style in 2016

Multi-generational living – a living arrangement where at least two adult generations reside in the same home – is certainly not a new thing. Before World War II, it was a popular option for American families, and in some countries around the world, it is still the norm. It certainly has not been the norm in the United States until recently as multi-generational living is making its comeback. Today we’ll look at this trend as well as customized solutions from new home construction that help ease the transition.

A Look at Multi-Generational Living Over Time

In 1940, almost 25 percent of the population was living in a multi-generational household. When World War II ended, this living arrangement fell out of favor. In 1960, only 15 percent of the population had multi-generational living arrangements, and by 1980, it fell to an all-time low of 12.1 percent.

Since that time, we have experienced a reversal. In fact, the Pew Research Center has found that between 1980 and 2012, the number of multi-generational households has doubled. In 2012, there were 57 million Americans – almost one in five U.S. residents – living in multi-generational homes.

Factors Impacting the Growth of Multi-Generational Households

There are a number of factors that are influencing this trend in multi-generational living as well as many ways this trend could potentially play out.

Aging Populations

The aging population in the United States has given rise to two different multi-generational living arrangements, each revolving around the baby boomer generation.

People in the baby boomer generation are currently in a unique situation that has led them to sometimes be referred to as the “Sandwich Generation.” What this means is that many baby boomers still have living parents (from the Silent Generation) and children (from Generation X). Both of these factors make them more likely to be a part of a multi-generational housing arrangement. Some are living with elderly parents and taking care of them in one house while others are moving in with their kids so their children can take care of them.

Boomerang Kids

Another factor influencing the multi-generational living trend is young adults and college-aged students moving back in with their parents. These millennials came of age right as the recession struck. With large student loan debts, they were unable to support themselves financially so many chose to move back in with parents until they can get on their feet. While many are now venturing out and purchasing homes of their own, there are still a large number of boomerang kids living with their parents.

A variety of factors are pulling all of the generations back together again and making multi-generational living arrangements look like the best all-around option. Although it sounds like a tricky situation (and it can be) home builders are constructing new homes that make the living arrangements work out just fine.

New Home Builders Are Accommodating Multi-Generational Households

The main concern for a multi-generational living situation is its impact on privacy and independence. While there may be a desire to care for elderly grandparents or to help an adult child save up money while living at home for a while, everyone involved still wants to hold on to their own sense of privacy.

Luckily, new homes are being constructed to deal with the multi-generational living situation in a way that gives everyone both privacy and peace of mind. This is an area where new home construction is on the cutting edge of design. These new homes allow each generation to have access to amenities like bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living areas, thus combining privacy and closeness.

New home construction can allow you to create a ‘home within a home’ which uses a lock-off suite to divide the home into two fully functioning homes. Each has its own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or kitchenette, living area, and a separate entrance. Some are even designed with laundry rooms and separate private garages.

These new homes can be designed side by side, in a row, on multiple levels, or by using a design that includes multiple wings. They all demonstrate how custom new homes can be designed to function perfectly for a multi-generational living situation.

New homes like these help solve the ‘problem’ that brought the generations together in the first place such as wanting to help an elderly grandparent or offering financial support to an adult child. However, they also help everyone involved retain their privacy and have a positive experience living together.

The changing demographics of the United States suggest that multi-generational living will continue to grow in popularity for years to come. New home construction offers customized solutions to facilitate this living arrangement and helps all parties enjoy the right balance of privacy and togetherness.