Multigenerational Households Continue Strong Growth
By Mike Croxall
President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga
After increasing dramatically during the Great Recession, the formation of multigenerational households shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a record 60.6 million people lived in multigenerational homes in 2014, according to a Pew Institute analysis of census data.
This means that nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in households consisting of two or more adult generations. There are many reasons for this trend, reflecting both economic realities and cultural preferences.
The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. Significantly, living with parents was the most popular housing option for adults ages 18 to 34 in 2014, according to the Pew Institute.
For many ethnic and immigrant groups, multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom. The country’s growing Asian and Hispanic populations helps contribute to the formation of multigenerational households, too.
However, Pew research shows that multigenerational households are increasing in popularity with nearly all racial groups, as well as all age groups and with both men and women.
Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.
Home builders and remodelers in the Chattanooga area are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.
Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include "universal design" features and products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include wider hallways, walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.
Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or mobility level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals.
To learn more about multigenerational home plans or to find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist in Chattanooga and surrounding areas visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net or go to nahb.org/capsdirectory.