Three-Generation Households Are Making a Comeback

There are now about 5.1 million multigenerational homes in the U.S.

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Bloomberg News has a report out today saying grandparent, parent, and child are all living in the same home at a higher rate than they have in years. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are nearly 5.1 million multigenerational homes--households where three or more generations live under the same roof--in the United States. That a 30 percent increase from the 3.9 million such homes in 2000. The number hasn't been that high in a long time. There were 2.9 million such homes in 1950, and that figure shrunk for the subsequent decades, reaching a low in 1980.

The idea of a multigenerational home may evoke the image of the Walton family saying good-night to each other or of a Jacob Riis photo of turn-of-the-century tenement life in New York (one is shown above). But that image is outdated, says Bloomberg News. These types of homes are becoming more common in suburban America, and their growth is caused by a whole host of factors. Driven by economic pressures and cultural preferences, Hispanics and Asians, the two fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S., are 50 percent more likely than whites to live in multigenerational households. And among all races, it is increasingly likely for older people, who are living longer than ever, and younger people, who are facing tough job and housing markets, to decide to shack up with relatives.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.