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Multi-Generational Housing

By Malcolm Rivers

Basic Information

Multi-generational households are homes where 3 or more generations live under one roof. Multigenerational houses are usually comprised of grandparents, parents and children living together. Many of the challenges inevitably faced throughout life are handled as a family, though frequently the grandparents have a distinct section of the house in which they live. Many multigenerational families live in three story homes and the like, due to the ease with which family members can live in the house while still maintaining their senses of independence, autonomy and privacy.

Multi-generational households tend to fit into two structures, one slightly more popular than the other. The more popular structure has the head of the household, the owner, living with his children and grandchildren. This structure, at the time of the census in 2000, had 2.6 million families, representing approximately two thirds of multi-generational households, under its proverbial banner. The less popular option involves the homeowner living with their parents and their children.

Benefits of Multi-Generational Housing

The first and foremost benefit of multigenerational housing should be fairly obvious; living with your family, especially your extended family, can be fulfilling and enjoyable. A fringe benefit of this type of arrangement is that the common difficulties of seeing family like travel costs, lodging and other related difficulties are alleviated. Families with strong relationships are reinforced by mutual interest. As of the 2000 Census, there were an estimated four million households in the country with 3 or more generations living together. This number has increased over the course of time and the number of multi-generational living arrangements for families is substantially higher than it was in the year 2000.

Potential Difficulties of Multi-Generational Housing

Frequently for families with multi-generational living situations, there can be obstacles or difficulties related to their living arrangements or even trouble obtaining said living arrangements. One example is in the field of education. Many family programs in schools, public and otherwise, are oriented toward nuclear families and do not, for example, always include considerations for families in which the grandparents are the heads of a household. Also, often older relatives have difficulty moving their families into multi-generational arrangements due to restrictions on housing for the elderly.

Multi-generational housing can be very beneficial for the families considering it. It can bring families together, facilitate logistical concerns like childcare and the needs of the elderly and other factors. As always, make sure to do your own research on the subject when considering the best living setup for you and your family.

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About The Author

In 2005, Malcolm attended Harvard University where he received his Bachelors of Arts...

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