Generations United Report: One in Six Americans Live in Multigenerational Households

Posted: December 18, 2011

A December 2011 report from Generations United, entitled, Family Matters: Multigenerational Families in a Volatile Economy, finds that an increased number of Americans are living in multigenerational households, due in part to the poor economy and also to an increasing number of elders living with family members who provide care.

The authors explain that more than 51.4 million Americans of all ages live in a multigenerational household, a greater than 10% increase since the start of the recession in 2007. The reasons cited include the current economic climate (66%); job loss/change/underemployment (40%); health care costs (20%); and foreclosures or other housing loss (14%). Seventy-two percent of respondents agreed that this type of household arrangement improved the financial situation of at least one family member, while 82% agreed that the arrangement has enhanced bonds or relationships among family members. Seventy-eight percent report that the arrangement can be stressful at times, and 75% agree that it helps make it easier to provide for the care needs of a family member (including child care, older adult care, or special medical care).

Policy recommendations include changing housing systems to accommodate multigenerational families, increasing funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program to $250 million, fully funding the Lifespan Respite Care Program, and enacting a federal caregiver tax credit.

Access the full report.