Multi-generational Living—a New Trend?
“Good night, Daddy.”
“Good night, Grandpa.”
“Good night, Grandma.”
“Good night, John-Boy.”
For many boomers, those words evoke memories of the 1970s CBS TV classic, The Waltons, about a Great Depression and World War II-era family with three generations living under one roof in rural Virginia. While the series gained a loyal and large TV audience through its nine-year run, its theme of a multi-generational family living situation ran contrary to the times.
In 1940, about one-quarter of the U.S. population lived with three or more generations in one home. After WWII, American families largely became two-generational, with parents and minor-age children under one roof. Returning war veterans built suburbs and a new American family lifestyle through the 1950s. The percentage of households with multiple generations started declining to 21%, reaching a low of 12% by 1980.
Numbers Heading Back Up
However, an August 2016 Pew Research report shows that a reboot of The Waltons living situation is trending. According to Pew, a record 60.6 million Americans — almost one in five – lived in multigenerational households in 2014, defined by Pew as a having two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren. This is about a 30% increase in just seven years; in 2007 there were 46.5 million people living in multigen households.
The Pew data shows this increase is largely based on adult children (defined by Pew as 25 years or older) living at home with mom and dad. In fact, for the first time in 130 years, living with parents surpassed other living arrangements for those 18 to 34.
And the trend is increasing across all racial groups. The Pew data shows that among this multigen population: 28% are Asians; both Hispanics and blacks account for 25% each and whites are at the tail end with 15%. However, across these various racial groups, each has seen an increase of two percentage points since Pew’s 2009 data.
Article credit: Forbes Magazine