Multigenerational Households / The New Middle Class Family
The United States Census Bureau defines multigenerational households as those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof. Multigenerational households come in all shapes and sizes. Three generations is the most common and consists of three generations. This is typically one or more working age adults, one or more of their children and either aging parents or grandchildren. Grand families are headed by an older individual or couple who live with grand children under age eighteen. Two adult generations consist of parent(s) and child(ren) ages eighteen to twenty two. However, households with “boomerangs” are on the rise. Grown children who because of unemployment, under employment or other reasons return to their childhood household. Then there are the four generation households. These are more common in lower income ethnic communities. The four or even five generation household consist of parents, grandparents, great grandparents, adult children and their children.
Multigenerational households is not a new concept. In many Asian societies this is a tradition. In the 1950’s 57% of Americans sixty-five or older lived in homes with their children and grandchildren or other family members. The post WWII period brought the GI Bill, more education and loans to buy homes and start businesses and families scattered across the United States. Better medical care meant more aging Americans could remain independent longer. Social Security and Medicare kept more aging Americans out of poverty. In the 1990’s only 17% of aging adults sixty-five or older lived with families. The downward trend has now reversed and multigenerational households are on the rise again. The United States Census Bureau data indicated in 2007 the number of older adults who moved in with their adult children was 3.6 million that’s a 67% increase from 2.2 million in 2000. One in...