Multigenerational Households

Dated: 05/10/2018

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Record 64 Million Americans Now Live in Multigenerational Households

According to a news release by the Mortgage Bankers Association this week, over 64 million Americans -- 20 percent of the U.S. population -- live in multigenerational households, which is based on a report by the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C.

The Pew analysis of U.S. Census data, authored by former Washington Post reporter D'Vera Cohn and Jeffrey Passel, who worked previously with the Urban Institute, said both the number and share of Americans living in multigenerational family households have continued to rise, despite improvements in the U.S. economy since the Great Recession.

The report said multigenerational family living is growing among nearly all U.S. racial groups, Hispanics, most age groups and both men and women. The share of the population living in this type of household--defined as including two or more adult generations, or including grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25--declined from 21% in 1950 to a low of 12% in 1980. Since then, multigenerational living has rebounded. The number and share of Americans living in these households increased sharply during and immediately after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Since then, growth has slowed a little but has remained much more rapid than the growth before the recession.

In 2009, the report said, 51.5 million Americans (17% of the population) lived in multigenerational households, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. In 2014, 60.6 million Americans--19% of the U.S. population--were part of multigenerational homes, according to the last major Pew Research Center analysis of this data.

"Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living," the report said. "The Asian and Hispanic populations overall are growing more rapidly than the white population, and those groups are more likely than whites to live in multigenerational family households. Another growth factor is that foreign-born Americans are more likely than those born in the U.S. to live with multiple generations of family; Asians and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be immigrants."

The report said among Asians living in the U.S., 29% lived in multigenerational family households in 2016. Among Hispanics and blacks, the shares in 2016 were 27% and 26%, respectively. Among whites, 16% lived with multiple generations of family members.

During the recession, household formation declined, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. However, beginning in 2014, household formation--and the homeownership rate--have risen; MBA expects the U.S. to add nearly 16 million new households through 2024.

The Pew report noted in recent years, young adults have been the age group most likely to live in multigenerational households (previously, it had been adults ages 85 and older). Young adults without a college degree now are more likely to live with parents than to be married or cohabiting in their own homes, but those with a college degree are more likely to be living with a spouse or partner in their own homes. But even among some other age groups, at least a fifth live with multiple generations under one roof, including Americans ages 55 to 64 (24% in 2016) and 65 and older (21%). The rise in multigenerational living among these older Americans is one reason why fewer now live alone than did in 1990.

Among all Americans, women (21% in 2016) are more likely than men (19%) to live with multiple generations under one roof. The most common type of multigenerational household--home to 32.3 million Americans in 2016 -- consists of two adult generations, such as parents and their adult children (25 and older). Another 3.2 million Americans lived in households consisting of grandparents and grandchildren.

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