Multi-generational living on the rise

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Grace Ballor is a University of Dallas senior and her article first appeared on GenWhyPress.com.

Multi-generational living, historically popular in Asian cultures, is becoming increasingly more common in the United States. Not only are people living longer, but the tough economy has strained both young and old enough to necessitate the sharing of living expenses.

CNN recently featured a story on this new trend, following a family of four generations that shares a single home and a single rent payment. Great-grandmother, grandparents, middle-aged grandson and fourth generation great-granddaughter all share a New Jersey home that was specifically designed for multi-generational living.

The home, built by a visionary contractor who anticipated a demand for such spaces, offers the New Jersey family a large kitchen, separate bedroom areas and enough shared space to keep everyone close without making them feel claustrophobic.

Multi-generational living offers many benefits for all involved.  It creates a deeper sense of kinship among relatives and can also lead to an increase in value-driven living, since each member of the household is better able to perceive life through the eyes of someone older or younger.

Shared living comes at a cost, though, especially since it is a reversal of the trend that dominated America from the 1940s until the 2000s. Younger generations, taught by society that they need to become independent in order to be successful, often resent their elders for continuing to act as an authority well past the age of maturation to adulthood.

Still, despite the discomfort of being 30 and living with one’s parents and even grandparents, the more than 23 percent unemployment rate among adults ages 18 to 25 makes multi-generational living attractive to Generation Y.

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