If you look at the new homes being built around here, you’d think multi-generational living was the builders’ primary target!
Donna Butts remembers one of the moments that sold her on the idea that there was a sustained rise in the number of multigenerational households. As executive director of Generations United, a nonprofit that promotes intergenerational living, she was called to do an interview on the topic for a Louisiana radio station a few years ago. The host seemed wedded to stereotypes: He’d never want his mother-in-law to move in, since she’d be intrusive and annoying, and adult kids living with their parents were strictly a sign of spoiled millennials.
He was convinced, that is, until he opened the phone lines.
“So, he starts taking calls and everyone has a great story about living with a grandparents or a child under the same roof, and how it’s made their lives better,” Butts says, laughing. “At one point, seeming desperate to prove his point, he asks a guy point blank if having his parent live with his family harms his love life. He just replied, ‘Well, now I have a live-in babysitter, so no.’”
Butts says that this way of thinking—what she calls the ‘John Wayne, go-it-alone mentality’—is withering in the United States. Multigenerational living, when more than one generation lives under one roof (not counting young children or teens), has hit record levels in the U.S. In 2014, according to Pew Research Center data, 60.6 million people, or 19 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multigenerational homes, including 26.9 million three-generation households.
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The heck happened to these Millennia’s? Get outta there and take on life! You’re in your late twenties! You’re SUPPOSED to eat some crap! Twenty/thirty-something year old guts can process it. Get out there! There’s a bag of crap with your name on it!
Back in my day, all we needed was a trusty dwarf, a joyful blonde, a safe dance, and we travelled the world! Got into all kinds of shenanigans! Families are great, but the world *learn’s* ya!
Get out there, kids!
If you don’t, nobody will!!
Go back in census records to the 1920s or before and you find a good bit of this. Looking back in my family history I find that all 4 of my great grandmothers lived with one of their adult children during the latter part of their lives (1940s and 1950s). (2 of them with unmarried sons) Going back another generation you also find a good bit of it from looking at the census records. (1950 census is not yet out so the latest you can find is the 1940 results).
So this is in many senses a back to the future kind of moment. It is consistent with the reduced amount of long distance relocation that is now occurring compared to 30-60 years ago. A lot of that was because GI’s during WWII saw areas where they were not from and relocated (a big cause of growth in CA in the 1950s)