Growing trend of intergenerational family structure in the US:

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Growing trend of intergenerational family structure in the US:

We humans used to live in large groups. This had been going on since pre-historic times, when we were facing various threats. These included encounters with voracious predators and the incursion of rival human factions or distinct hominin species.

During an era of sparse population, this proved to be a highly efficient strategy. Over time, the group system gave way to multigenerational households, where grandparents, parents, and grandchildren resided together under one roof. The dynamics shifted post-World War II with the onset of a global economic upturn.”

People got money and economic prosperity started. This made it easier for people to fulfill their dreams of buying or building a separate house. Before this, social norms had changed. Government administrations have made policies to make housing easier. Apart from this, the media also began to portray the nuclear family as an ideal family.

These things put an end to the intergenerational family structure.

But now, history is repeating itself once again. We’re once again moving towards a multi-generational family structure.

In recent years, American household dynamics have seen a significant shift, with a growing trend toward intergenerational living arrangements. This trend, where multiple generations of a family live together under one roof, is redefining the traditional nuclear family structure. In 2016, 20% of the U.S. population, or 60.6 million people, lived in multigenerational households, up from 12% in 2000.

The reasons for this are generally attributed to the economic crisis and the reduction in the purchasing power of the people. But if we see, these reasons alone are insufficient to compel it to happen. We can say that social norms are changing once again. People’s minds are changing. Due to the endless busyness of parents, children need caregivers, for this, grandparents are the best option. As life expectancy increases, the elderly also need companions and caregivers. Furthermore, cultural and social factors, like the importance of family and community, are driving this shift.

Advantages of intergenerational living:

  • Financial benefits: shared costs and resources
  • Emotional support: built-in family network and care
  • Practical help: childcare, housework, and meal preparation
  • Intergenerational Connections: Strong family bonds and sharing of wisdom

Disadvantages of intergenerational living:

The intergenerational family system also has some disadvantages. We have seen in the past a constant battle for authority and decision-making power within the family. Problems can arise here, especially for children. Such as the influence of many people on children’s choices, lack of space, and special attention to selected children, which can affect the mental health of other children.

•To make intergenerational living successful, families must communicate effectively, establish boundaries of authority, avoid undue interference in others’ lives, and prioritize mutual respect.

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