Extended Family Living: What’s Old is New in American Living

Posted by Steve Kleber on Dec 06, 2011

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As the economy still looks to recover from the recession and the housing market continues to be deflated, more and more families are looking to save money by living in non-traditional extended family units. In the past decade alone, the U.S. census has reported a rise in multigenerational families by upwards of 30%. Culturally, in the U.S., families have stuck to the typical nuclear family style residence of parents and children. However, times are changing and many family homes now not only consist of the nuclear unit, but grandparents, in-laws, and cousins as well. Baby boomers, now comprising  30% of the U.S. population, now move in with their children to save money. Boomerang children, or college graduates that move back home with their parents, are an increasing demographic of the U.S. population.

Families have opportunities to save money living under one roof in many ways. Firstly, more adults mean more income to support mortgage payments and other household related bills. Secondly, elder relatives act as a sort of “built-in-babysitter” for the family, saving cost on childcare. Thus, the extended family housing is unique in that it is a growing sector in an otherwise depressed market. Naturally, builders and contractors have flocked to this niche industry, offering unique features such as second master bedrooms or additional kitchens. While duplexes and granny flats have a long history in American architectural style, the “two-homes-in-one” model is novel and attracts new buyers as well as builders. Look to see more homes built in this style in the New Year.

While this adjusted home building style may be new, there is nothing new about extended family living. Multigenerational living isn’t just a fad to be forgotten in a few short years time. Americans may merely be adapting to what other cultures have been practicing for centuries. In many parts of Latin America, Africa, and India it is the norm to live with many other members of your family. The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child”, wasn’t invented purely on thought alone. Essentially, that is what multigenerational living is, a small community unit. Broken down even further, the Hispanic and American sectors of the U.S. population see twice the number as whites living in multigenerational residences. This is powerful information for builders, contractors, and suppliers of building materials. The possibilities for growth in this niche market are endless!

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 4:27 pm and is filed under Home Building & Design, Housing Market. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.