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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Multi-generational households on the rise

In today’s Research Brief, a study by Pew Research Center was sourced for the estimate that nearly one in six Americans is living in multi-generational household. The study, based partly on analysis of Census data, suggests that 16.1% of Americans—about 49 million people—are living in a home that included more than one adult generation.

The rise in multi-generational housing is related to recent economic conditions (job losses, home foreclosures, and families seeking more economically efficient living arrangements). But the increase is also a reflection of immigration; many people moving to the U.S.—particularly from Latin America and Asia—are accustomed to living in multi-generational households, according to the story.

To see the Research Brief article, click here.

To read the summary of findings from Pew Research, click here.

To see a similar, previously published article from Engage: Boomers, click here.

Implications: If your company targets “families,” it’s important to accept that traditional families don’t look very traditional anymore. On recent market visits to study “Consumer DNA” in places like New York, Houston, and even Tulsa, I’ve been reminded of just how dramatically the family portrait has changed; the description “Married with Children” often describes about 25% of the adults in a given community, give-or-take a few percentage points.

In recent decades, the non-traditional household has been fueled by many things, including the tendency for couples to marry later in life (or live together and not get married at all), blended families, single-parent households where the child is 18 years or older, and more. In more recent times, modern economic realities are a driving force, as are traditional homeland values (in the case of immigrants). But whatever the cause, the families you reach today could very well be extended.

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Mike Anderson

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