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In 2016, research shows more than 64 million Americans are living in a multigenerational household, according to the latest census bureau data.

This is a trend that’s been increasing.

But wait, we are now almost a decade past 2016, and multigenerational housing much like tiny home living continues to rise. 

With the limited amount of affordable housing, it is no wonder over 20% of people live in a multigenerational home. 

Key Takeaways
  • Economic Drivers: Escalating housing costs compels over 20% of Americans to embrace multigenerational living for financial ease and resource sharing.

  • Variety of Arrangements: Multigenerational homes adapt to diverse family structures, supporting roles from caregiving to financial pooling across different family setups, showcasing the versatility of this type of housing.

  • Design for Privacy and Connection: Homes are increasingly designed with both shared spaces and private quarters, like ADUs, to balance family interaction with individual privacy.

  • Enhanced Social Benefits: These homes foster stronger family bonds and emotional support, enriching family dynamics and cultural traditions.

  • Management of Dynamics: Successful multigenerational living requires clear communication about roles, finances, and boundaries to ensure household harmony.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

What is a Multigenerational Home?

Multigenerational homes are a type of alternative housing and are defined as two or more adult generations living under one roof.

They are referred to as multigenerational living and are considered a type of housing that accommodates family members from multiple generations. 

Multigenerational housing is making a comeback with the rising costs of living and unaffordability of the housing market.

3 Examples of Multigenerational Housing

Multigenerational homes come in various forms and are a key aspect of the evolving type of housing across the U.S. 

1. Parents living with their adult children and grandchildren

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In this arrangement you can find three or more generations living together in the same space.

The middle generation often becomes the primary caregivers for both their children and their aging parents. 

This can be a mutually beneficial situation, as grandparents can provide childcare, support, history, and wisdom, while the adult children can ensure their parents’ well-being.

2. Disabled family members moving in with their family members

image 2

This scenario often arises when a family member requires additional care or support due to health issues or financial constraints.

It just makes more sense to share a home with a relative sometimes. 

This living situation can help meet the unique needs of their disabled relatives and be an alternative to a nursing home or assisted living scenario.

This living situation could be used as a replacement for senior housing or living alone. 

3. Adult siblings living together with their respective families


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When adult siblings choose to live together, it can create a unique dynamic where cousins grow up together and form close bonds. 

This arrangement can also provide financial benefits, as expenses are shared among the families.

Types of Multigenerational Housing

Multigenerational homes can be structured in different ways, depending on the needs and preferences of the family members involved.

Shared Living Spaces

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In a shared living space, all family members share common living spaces such as the kitchen, living area, and dining area.

A suite could often be separated from the other bedrooms for privacy. This is the easiest way to create a shared living space in an existing home.

This arrangement fosters a sense of togetherness and encourages interaction among family members. 

Tip: Family members should discuss expectations regarding shared responsibilities, such as cooking, cleaning, and household chores.

Separate Living Quarters

Separate living quarters floor plan

Some multigenerational homes feature separate living quarters for each generation, highlighting the flexibility and adaptability of this type of housing. 

These homes offer self-contained living spaces within the main home, often with a separate entrance, kitchen, and bathroom.

This provides a balance between privacy and family connection. 

Creating an ADU from a Converted Garage or Basement

Converted Garage Apartment
Converted Garage Apartment” by Sightline Institute is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Transforming existing spaces in single-family homes into separate living quarters can provide privacy for adult children or grandparents.

These spaces could be considered ADUs or accessory dwelling units, and unlike the prior two options, they do not have access to the main home. 

Some young families are buying a home with an ADU to rent it out until they need space for a loved one.

This strategy allows homeowners to assist with increasing housing that is affordable to so many people who have been lost in the home affordability landscape.

Adjoining Units

Multigenerational by probuillder com

Some families may opt for homes with adjoining units, such as duplexes or multi-level homes.

This is sometimes utilized when multiple families want to be close but also separate.

This living setup enables family members to support and interact with one another when needed but maintain completely separate living spaces. n2eu7l8FFJQt taN0GKVJMyp sjQEMBN Ft9i799Xk4bkIi9Bil7 DHdOFDvQ6LqB8nw7pvQsUTxXgfHGxdNekjrX58f6PgXCTRTuxKrRIPhZonfGQmbM rFiO0 VMIuT F LGTEQKbIfucVOnPN k

4 Reasons Multigenerational Living is a growing trend

Reasons to live with family

Benefits of Multigenerational Living

Multigenerational living offers numerous benefits for families who embrace this lifestyle. 

  • Shared responsibilities lead to reduced stress and workload

  • Increased support for all family members

  • Strengthens family bonds and creates lasting memories

  • Combining resources results in significant financial advantages, particularly in multigenerational housing, where the practice of pooling financial resources is common.

Shared Responsibilities and Support

One of the primary benefits to live with family members is the sharing of responsibilities among family members. 

In a shared household, adults can divide tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare, reducing the burden on any one individual. 

This collaborative approach to household management can significantly reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.

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Having multiple generations under one roof means that there is always someone available to offer support when needed. 

For example, grandparents can help with childcare, allowing parents to focus on their careers or enjoy some much-needed personal time. 

In turn, adult children can assist their aging parents with daily tasks or medical appointments, ensuring that they receive the care and attention they require, a practice common in households where younger adults live with their parents.

Strengthened Family Bonds

Living in a multigenerational home provides ample opportunities for family members to interact, share experiences, and create lasting memories.

 Children can benefit from their grandparents’ wisdom and guidance, while grandparents can enjoy their grandchildren’s energy and enthusiasm. 

These daily interactions help to foster strong emotional connections and a sense of belonging within the family unit.

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Multigenerational living can help to bridge the gap between generations and promote understanding and empathy. 

Those that live with extended family members gain insight into each other’s perspectives, challenges, and triumphs, leading to a more cohesive and supportive family dynamic.

Creating a Legacy of Family Traditions

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One of the most significant reasons for living in a multigenerational household is the opportunity to pass down family traditions and values from one generation to the next. This can solidify the cultural backbone of multigenerational housing. 

Grandparents can share stories, recipes, and skills with their grandchildren, ensuring that these precious elements of family history are preserved and celebrated.

Financial Advantages

Multigenerational living can provide significant financial benefits for families. 

By sharing the costs of housing, utilities, and other expenses, family members can reduce their individual financial burdens and enjoy a higher standard of living, a fundamental advantage of multigenerational housing. 

In addition to sharing daily expenses, multigenerational families can pool their resources to achieve long-term financial goals. 

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Navigating the Challenges of Shared Finances

While the financial advantages of multigenerational living are significant, it’s essential to navigate the challenges of shared finances carefully. 

Family members should have open and honest discussions about their financial goals, expectations, and contributions to the household budget. 

Setting clear boundaries and establishing a system for managing shared expenses can help to minimize conflicts and ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

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Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

Sharing Financial Obligations Fairly

Financial obligations can be a significant source of stress and conflict in an extended family home.

Establishing a fair system for sharing expenses is crucial to maintaining a harmonious living environment.

Determining Household Expenses

Start by creating a list of all household expenses, including:

  • Rent or mortgage payments

  • Utility bills (electricity, water, gas)

  • Groceries

  • Home insurance
  • Home maintenance and repairs

  • Shared subscriptions (internet, streaming services)

Once you have a comprehensive list of expenses, determine each family member’s contribution based on their income and financial situation. 

It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion about finances to ensure everyone feels heard and respected.

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7 Tips to Navigating Multigenerational Living Arrangements

  1. Define Personal Spaces: In multigenerational homes, it’s crucial to designate private areas for each generation. This helps maintain privacy and allows everyone under one roof to have their own personal retreat.

  2. Establish Clear Communication: Living in a multigenerational household requires open and ongoing communication about everything from household chores to personal boundaries. Regular family meetings can help address any issues before they escalate.

  3. Leverage the Benefits of Caregiving: Multigenerational living often makes caregiving easier, with grandparents able to help with childcare and adult children supporting aging parents. Recognize and appreciate the caregiving contributions from each family member.

  4. Optimize Home Layout for Accessibility: Ensure that your multigenerational home is accessible for all ages and abilities. This may include modifications like installing grab bars in bathrooms, ensuring there are no trip hazards, and possibly having a bedroom on the main floor.

  5. Respect Differences and Embrace Compromise: With multiple generations under one roof, differing opinions and lifestyles are inevitable. It’s important to respect these differences and be willing to compromise to keep household harmony.

  6. Utilize Community Resources: Many communities offer resources and programs that support multigenerational households. These can include senior centers, youth programs, and family counseling services, which provide additional support and engagement for all family members.

  7. Educate Yourself About Multigenerational Dynamics: Understanding the dynamics and trends of multigenerational living can help you navigate its challenges more effectively. Reading about other people’s experiences with multigenerational living can provide useful insights and strategies.

Final Thoughts

Multigenerational homes have resurged as a significant trend in American housing due to economic pressures and evolving family dynamics. 

This living arrangement, where two or more adult generations cohabit, is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young adults and the elderly. 

The benefits are clear: shared responsibilities reduce stress, financial burdens are lessened through combined resources, and family bonds are strengthened through daily interactions and mutual support.

Could Multigenerational homes be an answer to the housing crisis?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are people choosing multigenerational homes?

To save on housing costs, share caregiving responsibilities, and strengthen family bonds.

What are common types of multigenerational homes?

They range from homes with shared living spaces to those with separate quarters like ADUs.

How do multigenerational homes benefit families?

They provide financial relief, emotional support, and shared responsibilities, enhancing family dynamics.

What challenges come with multigenerational living?

Balancing privacy, managing shared finances, and establishing clear household roles are key challenges.

Non-cited Image Credit: Canva

Author
  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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