Census: Boom of Immigrants Added to Growth of Multigenerational Homes

CORRECTION: The original version of this report incorrectly stated comparative figures from the 2010 Census and the 2009-2011 American Community Survey.

Multigenerational households in the U.S. are on the rise, fueled in large part by cultural traditions held by a booming diverse immigrant population as well as a stagnant economy that has forced many grandparents, their adult children — and their kids — back together.

A comparison of 2000 and 2010 census data found that overall, the percentage of miltigenerational households had grown from 3.7 percent to 4.0 percent.

Between 2009 and 2011, 5.6 percent of the family households included in the American Community Survey were multigenerational, according to a brief on the results released this week by the Census Bureau. That's 4.3 million multigenerational households among those in the survey.

More than 10 percent of Hispanic and American Indian and Native Alaskan households were multigenerational, the ACS brief said. About 9 percent of Asian and black households were multigenerational, compared to just 3.7 percent of non-Hispanic white family homes.

"Partly that's because of the Great Recession, but I'd say most of the growth in multigenerational households is because of the increase in Hispanics and other immigrants," Cheryl Russell, former editor in chief of American Demographics, told USA Today. "A lot of Asian families assume that their aging parents will live with them."

Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were the ethnicity with the highest percentage multigenerational households at 13 percent, and Hawaii also tops the list with the largest concentration of such homes at 11.1 percent.

In general, states in the South and West had higher concentrations of homes with multiple generations. In fact, the brief reports, most states in these regions had percentages that exceeded the 5.6 percent national average. These regions, along with the eastern coastline, have the highest concentrations of immigrant communities, USA Today points out.

Other interesting notes from the ACS brief:

  • About 8 percent of households where the householder was multiracial were also multigenerational.
  • The South and West, where many multigenerational homes are located, also have a larger concentration of low-income areas.
  • States with high percentages of races or ethnicities, such as Hispanics, Asians or Native American, tended to also have higher-than-average percentages of multigenerational homes of those races/ethnicities. For example, California and New York had high proportions of Asian and Asian multigenerational homes.
  • Florida is the rare exception for Hispanics. Although a large proporation of the state's population is Hispanic, only 9.4 percent live in multigenerational homes — below the U.S. average of 10.3 percent.