A growing number of families with three generations or more living under one roof, and as a result the accommodations under that roof are changing.
The number of families with children, parents and grandparents living together has risen from 3.6% of all households in 2006 to 4.3% in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That year, a record 60.6 million people, or 19% of the U.S. population, lived in a multi-generational household, up from 42.4 million (17%) in 2009 and 27.5 million (12%) in 1980, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.
The high price of housing is one factor, as is the aging of the baby boomer generation. But diversity also plays a role; in general, ethnic groups such as Hispanics are more likely to live in multigenerational households, so as that cohort of the population grows, so do the overall numbers.
Writer Daniel Goldstein said these trends have an impact on the built environment:
To that end, many architects say they see their clients asking to redesign their home to accommodate an elderly parent, or a family visiting for the holidays. “I see it now more than 10 years ago,” said Dawn Zuber, an architect in Plymouth, Mich. who’s a member of the American Institute of Architects’ Custom Residential Architects Network, and whose firm, Studio Z Architecture, helps design homes for living arrangements like aging parents under the same roof. “People are looking for ways to make their home usable for an elderly [family] member and to keep those parents out of nursing homes a lot longer, or for empty-nesters who expect their kids to come back home for the holidays,” she said.