The History of MultiGenerational Homes in the U.S.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors


History of the MultiGen Homes in America 


Many people think the idea of Multigenerational living in the US is a new trend. That’s simply not the case. In the early 1900’s it was quite common for older adults to live with their adult children and grandchildren. According to Forbes, in 1940, about one quarter of Americans lived in a home shared with three or more generations. However, after the WW11, the American family household shifted as returning war veterans built suburbs. The norm for American family lifestyles in the 1950’s was mom and dad living in a home with their minor children. Aging adults were also likely to live in a home by themselves. Therefore, the percentage of multi-gen households declined, and continued declining, reaching a new low of 12% by 1980. 


It’s no surprise that during the 2007-2009 recession, when high unemployment rates pushed many adult children back home, the number of multi-gen households increased dramatically. What is surprising though, is that the trend is continued to grow, even though an improved economic climate made it feasible for people to strike out on their own. And to date, the trend shows no sign of abating. 


The latest stats we have for multi-gen households are from 2016, when Pew Research released a study from an analysis of Census data. They found a record 64 million people, or 20% of the US population, living in a multigenerational home. The trend is still growing too, and it’s growing among nearly all racial groups. Among this multi-gen population, 28% are Asians, both Hispanics and blacks count for 25%, and whites comprise 15%. However, each group has seen an increase of two percentage points since Pew’s 2009 data. 


Motivation for Living in a Multigenerational Home

Why do people choose to live in a shared home with other adult family members? The answers vary; cultural, economic, health support, strengthened family bonds, security, and the list goes on. What we do know, the trend is not likely to be reversed. If you’d like to learn more about this lifestyle option, or find a multigenerational home, call us today. We also live in a multi-gen home and enjoy helping other families learn more about this rewarding lifestyle.  We are proud to be the only Real Estate professionals who specialize in Multigenerational Homes and Lifestyles in Clark County, WA.  


Related Articles: 

Misconceptions about MultiGenerational Lifestyles

What Defines a MultiGen Home? 

The MultiGenerational White House - First Families Who Lived with the In-laws

MultiGen Homes and Lifestyles - Some Basic Guidelines 


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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.






Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 01/27/2019 02:36 PM
  2. Roy Kelley 04/01/2019 01:00 AM
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning,  Debb and Bernie - there are some who wonder about this or any change/evolution in living.  The reasons why/why not is not mine to question. Whether as an observer or as a partipant- - -there are signs/indications.  Maybe there's a thrill ride waiting too. 

Jan 27, 2019 10:04 AM #1
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Great information on this post.  In the past homes were built with many bedrooms to accommodate the multi-gen factor.  When we were in Costa Rica for a project, the gentleman we were working with came from a family. of 16 kids.  They lived in a bigt compound, and continuing generatioms still live there in several of the homes.  A

Jan 27, 2019 11:17 AM #2
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

This is a well written in depth look at multi gen. lifestyle. I think back in the early days of multi gen living it probably wasn't thought of it as such. It was just the way it was probably mostly for economic reasons but once it changed and now it's changing again many think it is new when it actually isn't.

Jan 27, 2019 11:55 AM #3
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Debb,
Gosh, I had no idea the numbers were that high.  Good stuff to know.  I hope developers are paying attention.  It could help ease the housing crunch.

Jan 27, 2019 12:12 PM #4
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Debb and Bernie - today I think the concept is another lifestyle and not merely necessity.

Jan 27, 2019 12:25 PM #5
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Love it Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD. Just wondering how I could implement... 

Jan 27, 2019 09:51 PM #6
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Debb, did not know the history, but know many are looking to become one multi-generational home. 

Jan 28, 2019 06:37 AM #7
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

In other countries, multi-gen living is a way of life.  I am friends with a family in Albania and it has 3 generations living together in each household.

Jan 28, 2019 06:41 AM #8
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Debb... I found this very interesting to read. I haven't run into much demand for multi-generational housing with my clientele... but I like to call Charlotte a multi-generational city... we have lots of people who move here and then are joined by their parents or their kids, just living in separate houses. But the desire to live closeby is very much driven by the same factors you described for multi-gen households.

Jan 28, 2019 07:03 AM #9
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing this interesting historical perspective.

Jan 28, 2019 08:11 AM #10
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Debb and Bernie- I've said this before but I grew up in a multi-gen home and would not have changed a thing.  I can remember several years ago Larry told me that they had a new buyer who wanted to change the home into two master bedrooms so that his adult son who was divorcing could return to live with him. 

Feb 02, 2019 11:20 AM #11
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


Feb 02, 2019 06:18 PM #12
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

Aoloha Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD , multigen in Hawaii is not unusual at all, mainly due to economics.  Have seen as little as a 3/1, 1000 sqft inside with two families living together.  Parents, children and grand children.

Feb 03, 2019 05:04 AM #13
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I know it works for many and I think it's a wonderful concept...I like my space though and at the end of the day I'm just too selfish to share it.

Feb 03, 2019 08:10 AM #14
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

It's been my experience that older generations share stories of this type of household fairly often, Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD .. it wasn't uncommon to have grandparents, older aunts and uncles, etc. living with families, especially as aging occurred.  I see this in my business when young people are trying to establish themselves, but have limited funds to do so ... and within families of Hispanic descent/ethnicities too.  Families .. multi-generations .. buying together.   It works perfectly for some ... but as Sharon Tara points out, it's not for everyone ...


Feb 04, 2019 11:33 AM #15
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

It seems to be that people who grew up in a multi-generational home always have wonderful stories to tell. The ability to travel to different parts of the country / world easily has caused many families to split up in terms of where they live. I love hearing that multi-generational living is still going strong.

Feb 09, 2019 06:52 AM #16
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Debb and Bernie:

This was fascinating - I had no idea the numbers were that significant! Thanks for the education!


Feb 10, 2019 12:14 PM #17
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