Modern families: Plotting the seismic shift in living arrangements

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Can’t live with 'em, can’t live without 'em

Millennials in the US are far more-likely than previous generations to live in a multigenerational household, according to a new report from Pew Research Center. The research looked at the living arrangements of 25-34 year olds and found that one-quarter of the demographic were now shacking up with their parents, or relatives from another generation.

That fits with other census data (charted above), which shows how the living arrangements of younger adults have changed more generally in the last 50+ years. That dataset shows 29% of 25-34 year-olds are now living either with parents or other relatives, more than double the 13% that used to live that way back in 1970. Perhaps unsurprisingly more than 80% of the age group used to be married and living with their spouse — today just 38% are, as cohabiting has become more popular.

Why younger people are more likely to live with family later in life is a multifaceted issue, but arguably the most relevant factor has simply been the rise in the cost of housing, which has accelerated even since the pandemic. The latest data shows rent prices at an all-time high and house prices that are up 13% on this time last year. Add in the fact that the cost of borrowing is rising, as policymakers try to fight inflation, and it seems that the trend of more multigenerational living looks very likely to continue.

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