According to the Pew Research Center, 49 million, or one in six people, live in multigenerational families in the United States.

According to the Pew Research Center, 49 million, or one in six people, live in multigenerational families in the United States. Many include adult children in their 20s. The trend to bring extended families together in one home is heavily influenced by factors such as the struggling economy, a tough job market, a housing crunch, increased immigrants, parents returning to school, saving money for a home, inability to afford child care or preferring to have grandparents care for grandchildren, elderly parents needing care, widows/widowers unable to live alone, etc. The other factors are the increase in marital instability, the breakup of nuclear families, and the remarriage of parents. Grandparents and step-grandparents are becoming more important.  

Rewards of multigenerational families

 Living in a multigenerational family has numerous rewards for all generations.

 Family members experience the high level of emotional bonding and closeness across generations.

 

 Provide important role models in the socialization of grandchildren. Grandchildren learn how to care for their elders.

 

 Bring purpose and meaning to the lives of older generations. For instance, the physical demands of keeping up with the kids and helping with homework make them feel younger, useful, and active.

 

 Grandparents help grandchildren survive their parent’s divorce. They give grandchildren undivided attention and help when single parents are overwhelmed.

 

 Provide economic resources to help younger generations in the family. Multifamilies have financial benefits for everyone involved. If grandparents are in good health and willing, they could help care for young children. Adult children living in the multifamily household can save money while going to school, finding a job, or saving money for buying a home of their own.

 

 Constant companionship, reduced money strain and related stress.

 

 Family members look after, help, and support each other.


Bringing family members together can be a joyful time to share and treasure for everyone in the family.



 Challenges

 Multigenerational living has its ups and downs.  Moving into a new household can be challenging and everyone involved needs time to make adjustments.  There are other challenges that need to be addressed as well. Some family members may feel stressful with the many obligations of caring for elderly parents, adult children, babysitting, redefining roles, balancing the needs of different generations, space and privacy, and redistributing household responsibilities. Not all multigenerational families experience high levels of emotional closeness.  Some multigenerational families may experience either significant conflict or detachment in their relationships.  Despite the financial benefits, living in a multigenerational household can potentially strain family relationships.