Once upon a time, Grandma could expect to move into the spare bedroom and help out with the kids. After World War II, that model changed as young people moved closer to the city and embraced the new American dream — a house in the suburbs that had no room for aging parents.
Now multigenerational living is making a comeback. According to a Pew Research Center report, U.S. Census data recorded 51.4 million Americans, or 16.7 percent of the population, living in mutigenerational households in 2009, up 10.5 percent from just two years earlier. This period, of course, encompassed the depths of the Great Recession. And for many, the original impetus was undoubtedly economic.
But homebuilders are finding that demand for housing that accommodates several generations under one roof is still on the rise, not only among immigrant groups for whom multigenerational living is culturally expected, but across all demographics and regions.
One reason for this is that, post-recession, the cultural landscape is changing, says Gina Canzonetta, marketing manager at Maracay Homes, which offers homes that include self-contained generation suites, or “casitas,” in new communities in southern Arizona.
“In general, people want to be more connected,” she says. “We are becoming a culture of responsibility and more meaningful relationships.”