Just when you think that a trend is moving in one direction, things change and new stats indicate a different direction. So two articles ago, I wrote about a rise in divorce with those 50+. then last week, I wrote about the trend in senior retirement homes. Last week, however, an article in a recent AARP newsletter indicated that multigenerational households are increasing.
I know that my parents were of a generation that looked forward to their children leaving home so that they would be free to do what they wanted. Maybe that was just my parents. But I think it was a trend with the generation that came of age around World War II. There was such a focus on mobility and freedom that in some situations, almost perversely, having children and being “tied down” with family was antithetical to the promises that came with mobility and freedom.
The AARP article claims that since 2010, there has been an increase of nearly 1 million households [to a 4.4 million level] that hold at least three generations under one roof. The reasons are evident and are cited in the AARP article as follows:
For many, the benefits of family living far outweigh any disadvantages. It can decrease isolation, increase savings, ward off depression, foster connections between generations, and reduce stress overall.
How much of this trend has come about because of the financial downturn that has been occurring in the U.S. since the crash of the summer of 2008 is difficult to determine. But there is no question that it is partially a factor. The after effects of the 2008 crash are still being felt and, according to all the predictions of financial gurus, after shocks will continue to be felt for some time to come, since, continuing with the earthquake analogy, that financial crisis was at a 9.2 level.
It will be interesting to see which trends of my three recent articles will be the more prevalent in the next twenty years. Maybe there will be enough room for all the trends. I guess it will become a status symbol to move into an expensive, country club like extended living facility for those with money. The multi-generational circumstances will fit the profile of the middle class and the couples divorcing. And then, of course, there will always be the exceptions to the rule to remind us that predictions are a wobbly science at best.
© Yvonne Behrens 2012