Consumer and Home Design TrendsDemographics

Multigenerational Households on the Rise

January 19, 2016

"We are family."

According to The 2014 American Community Survey, 16.5 million households have two adjacent adult generations living together, which accounts for 14% of all US households, and another 4.6 million households have three generations or more, accounting for an additional 4% of the population…that’s over 21 million households. Is this a trend? Or a permanent adjustment that consumers want?

18% of all US households now live multigenerationally, and the numbers continue to rise for three reasons:

  1. Delaying marriage has increased the number of young adults living with their parents.

  2. Surging retirement has increased the number of retirees living with their children.

  3. Significant immigration from countries where multigenerational living is the norm has also helped boost the numbers.

Most of the US housing stock was not built for multigenerational living, providing a tremendous opportunity for home builders. According to our Consumer Insights survey of more than 20,000 new home shoppers, 44% would like to accommodate their elderly parents in their next home. Additionally, 42% of today’s shoppers plan on accommodating their 18+ older children in their next home.

This focus on providing housing to extended family or friends may also account for 65% of respondents desiring a bedroom with bath on the ground level and 24% wanting a suite with a kitchenette and small living area. Designs for these spaces fall into various floor plan configurations. Below are several featured in our DesignLens database.

Source: DesignLens
Source: DesignLens

The space for a second adult generation can be designed as one large open “great room” with both a private entry and direct access to the residence. Alternative layouts separate the living and sleeping environments, compartmentalizing spaces for privacy.

Source: DesignLens

Another option is a beautifully designed, compact home, complete with private patio. Bedroom and living areas are both made more livable by the presence of an integrated lounge space with fireplace. The spaces have been beautifully delineated with architectural detailing that mirror the main house.

Source: DesignLens

The Meadows at Cheval in North Carolina, by Classica Homes and Bassenian Lagoni Architects, ushers in a new evolution of the multi-gen space and uses various tools to communicate the functionality of their homes, including signs and a video that educates shoppers.

Notice the image of the dining room on the wall where this space would be located, if the multi-gen option had not been selected, in the above photo—a clever way to show the possible functions of the space.

Source: DesignLens

One item Classica included—one rarely seen but that should be merchandised in every multi-gen suite for elderly parents—is the china cabinet. Displaying one’s cherished items is very important, especially to the elderly. Design a space, ideally as beautiful as one in the living or dining room, where they can place their special treasures.

Our family demographics and households are changing. Innovative builders, architects, and designers have provided solutions for every product type to address this evolution in the new home.

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