More Families Opt for Multigenerational Living
That living situation is increasingly popular, according to data and anecdotal evidence.
Between 2000 and 2007, there was a sharp 67 percent increase nationwide in the number of parents living with an adult head of household, according to a U.S. Census Bureau spokesman. (In Minnesota, the increase was 65 percent.)
That predates the economic meltdown and reflects a broader cultural shift, according to Stephanie Coontz, a family history professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director at the Council on Contemporary Families. "It's a real trend that's part of a larger trend: the closeness of intergenerations," she said.
But economic and other forces will accelerate the trend, predicts architect Michael Roehr of RoehrSchmitt. "We'll see more extended-family situations," he said. "Not just aging parents, but kids returning home."
Roehr said he's retrofitting more homes to make room for an adult family member, such as creating a "mother-in-law apartment" within a home. "I'm seeing more of that, particularly in the city, for people who want to stay in the city. People get attached to houses and neighborhoods, and want to organize their space to accommodate multi generations. ... We went through this period, post World War II, where society was extremely affluent," and the family norm became separate households, he said. "Now I think we're moving back in the other direction."