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Multigenerational Households: Choice or Circumstance?

Pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3768177The Pew Research Center recently reported that "young adults in [the] U.S. are much more likely than 50 years ago to be living in a multigenerational household." Pew Research Center indicated that "A quarter of U.S. adults ages 25 to 34 resided in a multigenerational family household in 2021, up from 9% in 1971. ... In 2021, 68% of 25- to 34-year-olds in a multigenerational home were living in the home of one or both of their parents."

Pew Research Center also notes the following: "The growth in multigenerational living among 25- to 34-year-olds has been especially pronounced among those without a college degree. Multigenerational living has tripled among these young adults, compared with doubling among young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree. issues are a major reason why adults live in multigenerational households."

From the research cited above, it seems pretty clear that young adults are not necessarily choosing to live with their parents; rather it is circumstance, i.e. financial reality, that drives them into the multigenerational household.

Now imagine if there were a silver lining in this perhaps forced co-habitation. Could it be that such living arrangements turn out to be beneficial for both parties? Is such a living situation conducive to a new kind of family closeness and harmony -- or does it result in unpleasant interactions?

Some Boomers may recall childhood memories of grandparents living under the same roof with them, or perhaps, very close by.  When I was very young, I had a grandmother who lived with us for a time, and I remember treasuring the feeling of being spoiled by her! Is this a bad thing for three generations to be integrated into one household?

The fact is, multigenerational living arrangements are far less common in the United States than they are in other parts of the world. The Japanese culture, for example, has long been known for its belief in multigenerational living. This also translates into a respect for older adults that we seem to lack in the United States.

Financial circumstances may present some families with what could be a challenging choice. It is interesting to think about the dynamic that occurs when parents and adult children live in the same household -- and whether they can forge a new kind of relationship that's different from their previous parent/young child interaction. Who knows? Maybe accepting this new reality and accommodating each other's needs and wants may end up being an unexpected benefit to everyone.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog



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