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Multigenerational Households on the Rise

As of 2016, one in five Americans lived in a multigenerational household. That’s the key revelation from a newly released Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data, revealing that the percentage of multigenerational American households has reached a level not seen since in decades.

Pew Research Center found that, in 2016, a record 64 million people lived in multigenerational homes in the United States. Pew defines a multigenerational household as including “at least two adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25.”

Pew’s study found that multigenerational living has been on the rise for several decades. Asian and Hispanic households are more likely than white households to be multigenerational. Pew states that increasing ethnic and racial diversity among the U.S. population could account for some of the increase in multigenerational households. However, multigenerational households are growing “among nearly all U.S. racial groups, Hispanics, most age groups, and both men and women.”

Pew reports that 29 percent of Asians living in America in 2016 lived in a multigenerational household. Among Hispanics and blacks, the number was 27 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Only sixteen percent of white Americans lived in multigenerational households in the same year, per Census data.

Multigenerational households declined steadily during the middle of the previous century, dropping from 21 percent in 1950 to 12 percent in 1980. The Great Recession resulted in a sharp uptick in this sort of living situation, and multigenerational households have continued to make up more of the American housing landscape in the years since.

In 2009, multigenerational households accounted for 17 percent of the U.S. population (around 51.5 million Americans), based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. By 2014, that percentage had increased to 19 percent, or around 60.6 million Americans.

Recent years have also seen a shift in which age group is most likely to live in a multigenerational household—previously, it was adults aged 85 and older. As of 2016, there was a surge of 25- to 29-year-olds living in multigenerational households, with 33 percent reporting living in such a situation in 2016.

This certainly tracks with other trends that have been apparent throughout the industry in recent years, from skyrocketing home prices to inventory shortages to the struggles of millennials and other young potential homebuyers to save up down payments while saddled with ever-increasing student debt. If those trends don’t shift, the percentage of Americans living in multigenerational homes doesn’t seem likely to drop anytime soon.

You can read the full results of the Pew Research Center study by clicking here.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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