Many parents are moving in with their young adult children while they’re healthier, younger, and still working. According to the Pew Research Center, one in four Americans ages 25 to 34 lived with older relatives or their parents in 2021, the fastest-growing section in multigenerational households.
Most of this group contains adult children moving back in with their parents. Still, older adults are moving in with millennials, according to Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew. In 2021, nine percent of multigenerational households were led by 25 to 34-year-olds, an increase from six percent in 2001.
Pew data suggests that some parents aren’t waiting for urgent healthcare needs or retirement to move in with their adult children. According to researchers, this move is known as the reverse-boomerang effect, and it’s often driven by changing attitudes regarding high housing costs, family life, and troubles finding affordable healthcare.
In 2021, nearly one in five Americans lived in multigenerational homes, defined as two or more adult generations living under the same roof. These arrangements were the norm in the first half of the century. However, it lost popularity as housing centered on the nuclear family, and older adults had more money and stayed healthier longer. According to Pew, multigenerational living resurged after bottoming out at 12 percent of Americans in 1980, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing market challenges are also a factor. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2022, 14 percent of all home buyers set up multigenerational homes, an increase from 11 percent in 2021. The pandemic increased the demand for homes for multigenerational living with separate living spaces for older parents. Jessica Lautz, the NAR’s deputy chief economist, says having multiple generations in one home allows first-time buyers to pool financial resources with older relatives.
The hallmark of independence used to be living alone, but adults who asked older relatives to move in say there are advantages. For example, 30-year-old Darin Freeman’s job is promoting clothes, makeup, and home appliances on social media. She recently bought a 3,300-square-foot house in Florida with her husband. The couple tried to convince Darin’s father, Daniel, and his wife and stepdaughter to move in with their family.
Darin wanted to live closer to her father, who lived in Arizona. She even offered him a job managing her family’s Amazon reselling business, offering him $5,000 monthly to talk with manufacturers, test new products, and keep track of inventory. Daniel was hesitant but wanted to spend more time with his daughter and grandchildren. Darin and her husband pay the mortgage, but Darin’s father pays for groceries, while his wife cleans the house and watches the children.
Darin says it’s challenging to find somewhere quiet to work, but this is the first time she’s had endless help, giving them more time to do the things they love. Though living with older adults has pros and cons, it allows you to save money while spending time with your loved ones. With inflation driving up the costs of almost everything, we’re likely to see more multigenerational homes in the future.