Recent studies show that 60.6 million people, or 19% of the United States population, are in a living 
situation that is considered multigenerational.  That means it is a household that includes two or 
more adult generations, or a household that includes grandparents and grandchildren.  There are 
many reasons that adults may find themselves in a multigenerational living situation, including 
health concerns, economic factors, rising home prices, and cultural preferences.  
One reason this trend is unlikely to fade is the rapidly growing influx of ethnic diversity into the 
United States.  Not only are multigenerational households more common in Asian and Hispanic populations, but foreign-born citizens and prospective citizens find living with family members a way to ease their transition to the United States.  The most common type of multigenerational household is made up of parents and their adult children, aged 25 or older.  Many people expected this trend to wane once the recession was over, but studies indicate otherwise.  Whether the reason for multigenerational family living is for economic stability or a way to keep a family close together, architects and design professionals should be prepared for this continuing trend.
One issue with multigenerational housing is a loss of privacy.  Traditional homes that are currently being used by more than one generation are not typically built to address the needs of this type of living situation.  Architects should begin to incorporate elements of retreat into homes that are likely to be used as a multigenerational living space.  This could include separate entrances, private bathrooms, and extra bedrooms.  These add-ons could be placed on the first floor, to make it easier on older family members living with their children.  Older family members may also prefer their own temperature regulation, which is an easy add-on and guaranteed way to make them feel more comfortable in their space.
While multigenerational family housing may go against the grain of traditional ideals of adult independence, it could prove itself to be a considerable business opportunity for builders, architects, and design professionals.

Marcus Dodson
editor & publisher
Multigenerational Households
Meeting the Needs of a Popular Living Style