The number of multigenerational homes in America has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. Pew Research found almost a fifth of the total U.S. population is in multigenerational households.
Now, new research from Lending Tree shows that a majority of young adults that moved back home during the pandemic are still there.
But the pandemic isn’t the only, or even the biggest, driver for multigenerational living.
Holly Michaels and her husband welcomed home an adult son a few years ago just before the pandemic.
“It was supposed to be temporary, but housing in Livingston County is extremely expensive and so, it was taking a while. Then, COVID happened” said Michaels.
A year before their son moved in, the Michaels had moved in with their aging father-in-law to help care for him. Their father had more space and it allowed the family to take care of him without driving back and forth.
Advocates for multigenerational living say while the pandemic did bring about more decisions to move mom or dad in, research from Pew suggests there are stronger driving causes for adults in the same family to live together. Financial reasons topped the list. After that, the top reasons are more personal.
Families reported it was an arrangement they just always had. Other reasons for living with family members included caregiving, a relationship change, companionship and child care.
“For children and young people, they get to know their grandparents or their older aunt or older relative. They get to hear about the family history. For older adults, it helps them in terms of a sense of purpose, sharing, passing on those stories,” said Donna Butts, the executive director of Generations United.
The organization has long advocated for a more caring society. Butts says more families are moving in together to leave less of an environmental impact as well. To have a successful merge, Butts and other wealth and aging experts believe it’s important for everyone to have their own space.
Communication, having a plan around household expectations, and financial contributions are also important. Multigenerational living experts also suggest having a plan and revisiting it every few months.