Multigenerational Households A multi generational household is defined as more than two generations of the same family living under one roof. Multigenerational households are common in other parts of the world. They are still uncommon in most areas of the United States, but lately they have been growing in popularity. Throughout the country, multi generational households represent just a fraction of the population. According to the 2000 census, four percent of all U. S.
households have three or more generations under one roof. (MAX) This trend is more common in some parts of the country than in others. There are many different reasons for this surprisingly rising trend. One significant factor for this new trend driven mostly by economics is home prices. The cost of living and owning a home has become increasingly more difficult over the past few years. This is much more common in those markets where affordable housing is scarce.
(MAX) California and Hawaii are among those high price markets. California alone has over six-hundred and forty-four thousand households where three or more generations live under one roof. (Seligman) As home prices in many areas have doubled, most incomes have not. In many areas of the country home builders and mortgage agencies have taken notice.
Several home builders have introduced what is now known as “accessory dwelling units,” also known as “granny flats,” this new feature has become more common in some new housing developments. (MAX) In downtown Orlando, new town homes come with the option of a first floor studio apartment with it’s own entrance. This feature is most popular with families who want private space for their parents or adult children. Almost a quarter of all town homes sold in downtown Orlando consist of some sort of multi generational arrangement. Ashley Custom Homes in Baltimore has also been receiving requests for homes that would accommodate more family members. “Right now Ashley Custom Homes is working on a colonial with 5, 000 square feet for the main house and 1, 200 square feet for the mother-in-law apartment,” says owner, Janice Strauss.
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(MAX) Armstrong Builders, another popular home builder based near Honolulu, has thrived in the island housing market. Island housing has long been known for its high land pricing and as unaffordable for those of middle or moderate income. Armstrong’s new approach to maximizing real estate is to build homes within homes, in which two or three families are living together under one unique architectural roof but, enjoying separate bedrooms, living areas, and bathrooms. Multigenerational housing often involves entire generations of the same family living together and quite often sharing unique kitchen and common areas. (HGTV Dream builders) Mortgage agencies have also adapted to the growing demand in the multi generational household market.
Fannie Mae, another home builder, recently launched a campaign pilot in Orlando called “Seniors and Family Together.” This new mortgage campaign defines seniors as people who are 55 and older. The campaign considers up to thirty percent of the senior’s income when qualifying borrowers for a home mortgage, but does not actually require that the senior’s name to be listed on the note for the home. This is great for multi generational households because families need to have income at or below one-hundred and thirty percent of their area’s median income to qualify for a home mortgage. (MAX) Another significant factor in the growing popularity of multi generational households is immigration. Traditionally, multi generational families are minorities who have recently immigrated to the United States. These households usually consist of the parents, their adult children and grandchildren.
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In Hawaii where there is large Asian population, more than eight percent of households are multi generational. In California where there is a large Hispanic population, close to six percent of households fall under this arrangement. On the other side of the spectrum, only one percent of North Dakota’s population lives in a multi generational setting. Border towns where immigration is common are also more likely to have families which live with relatives for a set amount of time until they can get on their feet and move into their own home. Families tend to “double-up” in their living arrangements when there are housing shortages due to over population of the area or in areas where there is a high- rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing is common. Out-of-wedlock childbearing in turn causes the unwed mother to move in with her parents and as a result creating a multi generational household.
This leads us to yet another reason for the convenience of a multi generational household. The number of young families are growing at significant rates, they seem to be turning more to their parents or grandparents to help raise their children instead of using traditional day-care or nannies. It was noted by the National Association of Home Builders, that childcare seems to be a significant factor for multi generational households, particularly if the middle generation is divorced. (MAX) According to a poll taken by home builders, Del Webb, in fact one quarter of baby-boomers say they expect their children or grandchildren to live with them at some point in time during their retirement. (MAX) Of the nation’s multi generational households, about two-thirds consisted of a householder/ homeowner and that person’s children and grandchildren. Another third consisted of the householder / homeowner and that person’s children and parents.
Only two percent of all multi generational households included four generations according to the 2000 census data. What the census did not show was perhaps the number of households that consist of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and others relatives who band together to afford homes. (Seligman) Another factor for multi generational households is healthcare and decreasing retirement budgets. This may seem like an unlikely reason but, the immobility of certain healthcare plans, and rising healthcare costs are keeping retirees closer to home. Senior citizens (people that are 50 years or older) are moving in with adult children in order to afford just their basic necessities.
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As the Baby- Boom generation grows older, this phenomenon is expected to increase and is already changing the way retirement housing is marketed and built. A spokesman with the AARP says, “given their druthers, older people want to stay put and age in place.” He also cites that a recent AARP study showed that eighty-three percent of those over the age of forty-five said they would like to stay in their current residence for as long as possible. According to the most recent statistics available from the Administration on Aging, only forty- two percent of households headed by those older than age sixty-five, moved between 1998 and 1999. In comparison, 16.
5% of those households headed by people than age 65 changed location during the same period of time. (Gillin) Another reason for multi generational households is parents moving in with their adult children for personal reasons such as the passing of a spouse or divorce / separation from a spouse. An great example of a non-traditional multi generational home setting is right her in Yuma. The home setting I’m referring to is what is widely known as the Yuma Dome. The “dome” is a monolithic concrete home, which is just one type of home built/ designed especially for multi generational families.
The house is occupied by a unique family of eleven adults, spanning four generations, which are related to one another either biologically, through marriage, or simply through friendship and a shared sense of values. According to Mark at Yuma Dome, “life is surprisingly pleasant and conflict free.” Also, depending on work schedules, and other commitments, the Yuma Domers eat most of their dinners together. The Yuma Domers also share expenses such as, bills, including utilities and maintenance. (Parker) I personally live in a multi generational household. My wife and I live with her mother and two brothers. I can honestly say that I have come to love our living arrangement.
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My wife and I are expecting a baby boy on the 10 th of December and having my in-laws close to us will be a tremendous help. I believe we have grown closer as a family and have built an un breakable bond. We have many other reasons for living in a multi generational setting One obvious reason of course is the baby, another is that we are young couple and we do not have enough credit history to purchase a home of our own, we are in turn saving for one. We are not the only ones who benefit from our living arrangement but my mother-in-law does too, we help out by doing the grocery shopping home work and occasionally baby-sit and make dinner. These are just some of the reasons why I have decided to live in a multi generational home setting. After living in one for almost two years now, I have come to love her family as much as my own immediate family.
We also have decided that when my wife and I do purchase our own home, that we want my mother-in-law to come live with us in our home, we can in turn help her while she continues to help us with our growing family. After living in a multi generational household it is plain to see why this trend is growing in popularity.