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Multigenerational living: an opportunity for UK house builders? Final report to the NHBC Foundation-source document

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This source document analyses recent evidence on the scale and character of multigenerational households in the UK, and gives detailed insights from those who have experienced this lifestyle.
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Multigenerational living: an
opportunity for UK house
builders?
Final report to the NHBC
Foundation source document
Dr Gemma Burgess
Dr Charlotte Hamilton
Michael Jones
Kathryn Muir
2017
2
Contents
1) Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 3
2) Methodology ..................................................................................................................... 5
3) Literature review ............................................................................................................... 6
4) Data analysis .................................................................................................................. 13
5) Design review ................................................................................................................. 22
6) Case study Singapore: the role of housing in provision for older age .............................. 34
7) Case study US house builder: Lennar’s NextGen home ................................................. 38
8) Discussion ...................................................................................................................... 47
6) Appendices ..................................................................................................................... 64
3
1) Introduction
1.1 Aims of the research
The aim of the research is to analyse the scale and nature of multigenerational living in
England and to explore the opportunities this presents to the house building sector. The
research will analyse the proportions and types of households living in multigenerational
households.
It will consider the drivers for the increase in multigenerational living, such as affordability
issues preventing children from leaving the family home, or returning to the family home, as
well as ageing parents seeking support in later life. However, there is evidence to suggest
that for some households multigenerational living is a positive choice that provides access to
larger properties through pooled resources, and flexible styles of living that enable provision
of child care and security for adults in older age.
The research will consider whether this is a specific market the house building industry
should consider. It will explore how people live in multigenerational households and make
suggestions to the house building sector about how best it might meet the needs of
multigenerational households.
1.2 Background
There are two main forms of multigenerational living. One is where three generations of the
same family live together, with grandparents living with younger generations, e.g. their
children and grandchildren. The second main type is two adult generations of the same
family living together. Within this type are two sub-groups. One is households with parents
living with their older, adult, non-dependent children (e.g. younger adult children returning to
the family home after studying, or older adult children returning to the parental home after
divorce). The other is that of a household with middle aged people living with their elderly
parents.
Multigenerational living is an area of established international interest, with house builders
developing homes for this market in the United States, Asia, and parts of Europe. In
contrast, multigenerational living is a relatively new area of interest in the UK. For example,
at the Ideal Home Show in 2014 for the second year running House Beautiful sponsored the
Multi-Generation Home
1
. Taken to site and erected within 24 hours, the home is intended to
“showcase stylish ideas and clever solutions for adapting rooms to suit the changing needs
of family life”. At the moment, homes such as these are mainly the preserve of the relatively
wealthy, but multigenerational living could mean that two kitchens in one home will become
the norm. Large living spaces, multiple bathrooms and two separate front doors could be the
future for new-build houses, according to a report by the NHBC
2
. The organisation believes
a lack of large affordable family homes has already resulted in different generations of the
1
http://www.housebeautiful.co.uk/tag/multi-generational-living/
2
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2652740/Generations-family-pooling-
buy-home.html
4
same family deciding to 'co-home' - essentially pooling cash to buy a single property for
them all to share.
However, there is a lack of robust evidence in relation to the prevalence and nature of these
types of households in the UK. Current estimates of its prevalence are prone to
misrepresentation or lack robust evidence (see the literature review of this report for more
detail). In addition, there is little evidence on the properties that multigenerational
households occupy or their living arrangements. This is an area of interest as, according to
research conducted for The Telegraph by Barclays, two thirds of people surveyed believe
the solution to an ageing population would be to move towards a multigenerational
household, although only 16 per cent said their current house would be suitable
3
. More than
half of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they would need to move house to accommodate
three generations.
3
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/10191448/Three-
generations-living-together-to-save-cash.html
5
2) Methodology
2.1 Phase 1
The project began with a review of the existing evidence and literature about
multigenerational living. This included both academic and ‘grey’ literature as there has been
a degree of coverage of this phenomenon in various media. There was analysis of
secondary data sources to explore the scale and nature of multigenerational households and
the proportion entering new build properties. This was particularly challenging. It has not
been done before and makes a significant contribution to knowledge. A design review of
existing new build designs for larger houses was conducted to assess the extent to which
existing new build housing could cater for, or be easily adapted to, the needs of
multigenerational living. Some international case studies were examined.
2.2 Phase 2
We conducted householder interviews to explore the experiences and living arrangements of
people in multigenerational households. 30 telephone interviews were conducted relating to
29 different households (in one case, two generations were interviewed from one
household). Half of the sample were recruited via a public relations agency through a social
media campaign and the other half were recruited via the NHBC’s research panel of new
homebuyers. All participants received a £10 shopping voucher for their time. Interviews were
also conducted with major house builders, with house builders who have developed models
aimed at this market, and other relevant stakeholders.
6
3) Literature review
3.1 What is multigenerational living?
Multigenerational households, or multigenerational living, are terms that are generally
considered to cover at least two generations of the same family living together (Easthope et
al., 2015; Simpson, 2015; Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014); sometimes this definition of
multigenerational living is referred to as intergenerational living (Aviva, 2012). Whilst
multigenerational households may, or may not, include children, in the literature reviewed
here the authors often stipulate extra conditions on multigenerational households for their
research purposes; for example, no one can be younger than 18 (Easthope et al., 2015), or
there must be a young child in the household (Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014).
Linked to the concept of multigenerational living is ‘concealed families’, where at least two
families are living in the same household (ONS, 2014a). Concealed families encompass
households where unrelated families live together, but do not ever count a single person as
a family (ONS, 2014a). Concealed families are not the same as multigenerational
households; a multigenerational household could include a single grandparent living with
their child and single grandchild, however, this would not be included in the definition of a
concealed family. Some of the media reporting around multigenerational living has
mistakenly used data on concealed families.
In this research we have considered households as multigenerational where there are three
or more generations of the same family living together, or where there are two generations
consisting of parents and one or more adult children (over the age of 25).
3.2 What are the trends over time in multigenerational living?
The literature reviewed suggests a minority of people live in multigenerational households,
but this is rising. However, this assertion is based on population estimates using data of
differing quality, with different authors suggesting different rates.
The ONS (2014b) estimated the number of three generation households in the UK using the
Labour Force Survey and came to the following conclusions:
Table 1: Multigenerational (three generations) households in the UK from 2001-2013
Year
Estimate (thousands)
2001
325
2002
303
2003
328
2004
331
2005
357
2006
340
2007
353
2008
352
7
2009
383
2010
360
2011
401
2012
420
2013
419
Source: ONS, 2014b (using the Labour Force Survey).
This compares with estimates from the Intergenerational Foundation think tank, reported in
the press, that there were half a million three generation households in 2012 (Dutta, 2012). A
similar figure of 517,000 was reported by Ancestry.com (2012) alongside the assertion that
there had been an increase in multigenerational households by seven per cent in the
previous five years. More recently, the ‘Ideal Home Show Census’ has been reported in the
press suggesting that there were around three quarters of a million multigenerational
households (of at least three generations) in 2014 (Daily Mail, 2014, Perkins, n.d.).
Whilst it was reported that ‘‘There has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of
multigenerational households in the past decade, according to figures from the Office for
National Statistics (ONS)’ (Dutta, 2012), this appears to be a misrepresentation of the
figures. The ONS (2011) reported that there had been a 28 per cent rise in ‘other
households’ between the 2001 and 2011 Census; the ‘other households’ category does
include multigenerational households, but crucially also contains any household composition
that is not classified as ‘one family’, such as student households or those living with relatives
outside of a nuclear family. The ONS report does not suggest that there has been a near 30
per cent increase in multigenerational households.
Estimates based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing suggest that around
two per cent of older people live with a grandchild (ILC Global Alliance, 2012) compared with
estimates made by Aviva (2012) that around seven per cent of people are in three-
generation households.
Overall, there appears to be a gap in knowledge of multigenerational living in the UK context,
compared with other countries (Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014; ILC Global Alliance, 2012).
Whilst there are suggestions that there is a rise in multigenerational households in the UK,
there are rises in other countries, such as Australia (Easthope et al., 2015) and America
(Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014).
3.3 Does multigenerational living vary spatially?
There are some hints that multigenerational living may vary spatially, however, this is based
on data relating to concealed families. Whilst concealed families are not necessarily
multigenerational families (it will not include some types of multigenerational households),
data on geographical propensity may provide some useful context to spatial variations of
multigenerational households. Table 2 shows that the greatest proportion of concealed
households is in London.
8
Table 2: Concealed families by region, based on the Censuses of 2001 and 2011
Geographical
area
2001 Census
2011 Census
All families
(thousands)
Concealed
families
(thousands) and
per cent
concealed
All families
(thousands)
Concealed
families
(thousands)
England and
Wales
14,682
170 (1.2%)
15,764
289 (1.8%)
North East
722
6 (0.8%)
748
9 (1.3%)
North West
1,899
21 (1.1%)
1,986
32 (1.6%)
Yorkshire and
The Humber
1,421
16 (1.1%)
1,503
25 (1.7%)
East Midlands
1,214
12 (1.0%)
1,313
20 (1.6%)
West Midlands
1,505
21 (1.4%)
1,588
34 (2.2%)
East
1,565
13 (0.9%)
1,696
25 (1.5%)
London
1,816
35 (2.0%)
2,064
69 (3.3%)
South East
2,279
23 (1.0%)
2,458
39 (1.6%)
South West
1,426
13 (0.9%)
1,528
21 (1.4%)
Wales
836
9 (1.0%)
879
13 (1.5%)
Source: ONS, 2014a
The literature suggests there are spatial variations in the occurrence of young adults living
with their parents. The greatest proportions are in Northern Ireland, Strathclyde, the West
Midlands Metropolitan Country and Outer London (Berrington, et al., 2009). This compared
with the lowest proportions of young adults living with parents in South and West Yorkshire
and inner London (Berrington et al., 2009).
3.4 What is the demographic, socio-economic and tenure profile of multigenerational
households?
Analysis of multigenerational households based on ELSA (where an ELSA respondent lives
with a grandchild), suggests that housing tenure is not associated with the likelihood of living
in a multigenerational household (ILC Global Alliance, 2012). However, living in poor health
doubled the likelihood of living in a multigenerational household (ILC Global Alliance, 2012).
Research using ELSA and Understanding Society strongly linked living in a
multigenerational household with being from an ethnic minority; 11 per cent of non-white
grandparents lived with their grandchildren, compared to 2 per cent of white grandparents
(based on ELSA). In addition, analysis of Understanding Society suggests that Indian,
Bangladeshi and Chinese older people are more likely to be living in mutigenerational
households than white older people (ILC Global Alliance, 2012). However, our data analysis
in section 4.3 shows that there is an interesting relationship between ethnicity and
multigenerational living. When examined overall, White British households account for 78
per cent of all households with a grandparent present, followed by Indian and Pakistani
households accounting for six and five per cent, respectively.
9
Burholt (2004) notes that multigenerational living is not the norm for all British Asian older
people. Her qualitative research with around 300 older British Gujuraits, Punjabis and
Sylhetis in the West Midlands highlights that a significant minority do not live in
multigenerational households, with hints from other data sources reviewed that
multigenerational living may be in decline for some British Asian groups.
Analysis of international multigenerational households containing a young child suggests
that in the UK, younger children are more likely to live in multigenerational households than
older children (Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014). Across the UK, Australia and America, the
literature suggests that multigenerational living was associated with the middle generation
being a teenage mother, the mother not being educated to degree level, the mother being
single and having an income in the lowest 20 per cent (Pilkauskas and Martinson, 2014).
However, our data analysis (see section 4.3.1) shows that in England only around a third of
three generation households contain a lone parent (this is a lone parent of a child aged
under 16).
For young adults who live with their parents, age, employment status and educational
qualifications are suggested to be important predictive socioeconomic factors. Being an
unemployed male (particularly being in their early twenties) and having fewer educational
qualifications increases the likelihood of living with parents (Berrington et al., 2009). For
women in their twenties, living with their parents is more likely for those with higher
educational qualifications, however, this trend is reversed for women in their early thirties
(Berrington et al., 2009).
3.5 What property types and household arrangements do multigenerational
households have?
Research by Easthope and colleagues (2015) and case examples in the press, suggest that
households are arranged to allow privacy, such as rooms for the specific use of one/some
members (including living and cooking space) and/or having separate front doors (Easthope,
2015; Dutta, 2012; Winch, 2013; Davidson, 2013). Easthope and colleagues (2015),
however, highlight common concerns about a lack of privacy and suggest that how this is
dealt with (or not) can impact on the well-being of the household members.
Research by Smith and colleagues (2010), examining adults (30-40 year olds) living with
their parents in the Netherlands, suggests that the generation with the housing and support
needs moves in with the other. In the case of this study, this was predominantly the child
moving in with their parents, for example, whilst going through the process of divorce (Smith
et al., 2010).
3.6 What are the drivers for multigenerational living?
One type of driver for multigenerational living relates to providing care or companionship for
the older, or younger, generation (ILC Global Alliance, 2012; Aviva, 2012; Winch, 2013;
Dutta, 2012; Simpson, 2015), however, some of the evidence for this conclusion is either
lacking or not robust.
10
Other linked drivers relate to housing difficulties and affordability issues. A lack of affordable
housing was seen as a key driver of people (especially young people) moving into a
multigenerational household (Daily Mail, 2014; Perkins, n.d; Dutta, 2012; Aviva, 2012; ILC
Global Alliance). Further, a lack of suitable retirement housing was also seen as a factor
(ILC Global Alliance). At the other end of the spectrum, for some, pooling resources as a
multigenerational household could mean being able to afford luxury housing (Davidson,
2013).
Simpson’s (2015) research with UK policy experts and practitioners suggested that drivers
could also include conforming to cultural expectations and meeting a sense of duty to live
close to relatives.
It is important to note that these data primarily consist of anecdotal evidence or perceived
wisdom, the exceptions being Simpsons’ (2015) data from policy related stakeholders and
Aviva’s (2012) survey (with no available documentation to assess quality).
3.7 What are the barriers and challenges to multigenerational living?
There are a range of pragmatic, economic and legal concerns that are potential barriers to
multigenerational living. A lack of mortgages suitable for multigenerational households was a
barrier for those in owner-occupation (Aspin, 2015; Lodddington, 2013; Winch, 2013), with
concerns that mortgage lenders were unwilling to lend to those in retirement, but also
unwilling to lend for a share of a house.
There were also legal concerns raised in relation to capital gains tax, inheritance tax and
more generally about the legal situation when one owner dies or wants to sell the property
(Aspin, 2015; Loddington, 2013; 50 Plus Magazine, 2015; Winch, 2013; Simpson, 2015). In
addition, issues around the impact on the home and equity if a member of a
multigenerational home incurs care costs that cannot be paid through savings were also
highlighted (50 Plus Magazine, 2015).
In addition, there were practical concerns around a lack of suitable housing and difficulties
regarding funding for home adaptations (Simpson, 2015; Winch, 2013).
3.8 What is the experience of living in a multigenerational household?
Having a feeling of ownership and control was linked to owning (part of) the home, however,
ownership may not be equally spread amongst members of a multigenerational household
(Easthope et al., 2015). A similar finding by Aviva (2012) suggested that some people in
multigenerational households do not feel like their home is their own. On a similar theme,
people living in multigenerational households noted having to adapt to other household
members and making concessions (Easthope et al., 2015), with arguments over personal
space and not feeling sufficiently independent (Aviva, 2012). However, people also
highlighted the companionship and care as part of a multigenerational household (Aviva,
2012). Findings from the Aviva (2012) survey suggested some members of multigenerational
households live without paying rent, whilst others contributed financially to other members.
11
3.9 In the academic literature, within what conceptual frameworks has
multigenerational living been considered?
Some authors have theorised multigenerational living in relation to the care or support
offered to the oldest generation. Pruchno and colleagues (1993) examined multigenerational
living in relation to feelings of burden and caregiving satisfaction of the middle generation
when an older relative moved into the home, who was in need of care. They found that the
middle generation feeling like there was a loss of privacy with their living arrangements was
associated with an increased sense of burden and lower caregiving satisfaction (Pruchno et
al., 1993). Further, Burholt and Dobbs (2014) tested an existing typology of older people’s
support networks in relation to older people who come from ethnicities associated with
multigenerational living; they found that the existing typology needed to be revised for the
South Asian groups examined, with a focus on multigenerational living and community
integration as areas of difference (Burholt and Dobbs, 2014).
Other theories relate to the motivations for people accepting relatives into their homes.
Exchange theory posits that people exchange support with others in return for support
themselves; exchanges can be implicit and related to family and cultural expectations, for
example, exchanges of care and financial support (Keene and Batson, 2010). Alternatively,
altruism involves providing support without the expectation that this is returned (Keene and
Batson, 2010). Both of these theories have links to societal norms and obligations in relation
to caring for kin, some of which may involve living together (Keene and Batson, 2010).
Other authors consider decisions about living with others in the context of theories of family
and household formations. One theory is that of the ‘Second Demographic Transition’, which
is spreading across European nations (and is increasingly global) where marriage and
childbearing is being delayed, alongside greater autonomy for women, and a growth in the
occurrence and acceptance of cohabitation (Lesthaeghe, 2010). In Northern and Western
Europe, theorised as having a weak family system, children leave the family home before
marriage and the welfare system of these countries supports this (Lesthaeghe, 2010). This is
in contrast to the strong family system of Southern European counties, where young people
leave the family home when married (or may live as a married couple in the parental home)
(Lesthaeghe, 2010). The interest in multigenerational living in the UK, and suggestions that
this may be becoming more popular, is at odds with the Second Demographic Transition
theory for Northern and Western Europe.
Alternatively, multigenerational living where adult children live with their parents could be a
sign that the path to gaining independence is changing and becoming more complex (Ford
et al., 2002; see also Berrington et al., 2009). Ford and colleagues (2002) created a typology
of young people’s housing pathways to highlight the variation and commonalities. In the
typology, living with parents into adulthood can be implied as being part of more planned
pathways, where there was an absence of drivers to leave, with family support featuring
more prominently in some than others (Ford et al., 2002). For example, the planned (non-
student) pathway includes young people with more control over their situation, with family
support, who can plan their move out of the family home often into owner-occupation
(possibly via the PRS) (Ford et al., 2002). In addition, the student pathway may involve
multiple returns back to the family home and the presence of family support (Ford et al.,
12
2002). This theory suggests that living in the parental home is a choice by young people that
is supported by their families, in the absence of constraining factors which may require a
move, such as needing relocate for employment.
3.10 What policies relate to multigenerational living?
There is a lack of government policy in the area of multigenerational living and a dearth of
policy to help meet the challenges faced by multigenerational households (Simpson, 2015).
The UK has lower rates of multigenerational living than America. Pilkauskas and Martinson
(2014) noted that this could be because of the UK welfare state supporting independent
living, something not available in the US.
13
4) Data analysis
4.1 Data source Understanding Society
Understanding Society is a UK-wide survey with a longitudinal design, meaning it follows
people over time. There are currently five waves of data available to researchers. It is a large
survey, with around 30,000 households included. The survey also includes an ‘Ethnic
Minority Boost’ to ensure sufficient representation from key ethnic minority groups.
The data for each wave is collected over a period of two years. Data collection for wave one
took place from 2009-2010, for wave two over 2010-2011, wave three over 2011-2012, wave
four over 2012-2013 and wave five over 2013-2014.
The dataset contains the key information necessary for drawing estimates about the
population from the sample. There is a range of weights (this analysis utilises the household
level weights) and variables relating to the way households were selected to take part in the
survey. All analysis presented takes into account the way the survey was distributed and the
appropriate weights.
Using the definition of mutigenerational living identified in the literature review, households
were coded as multigenerational if they contained a grandparent (three generations or more
in the same household) or two adult generations with the youngest adult aged 25 or over
(likely to be either boomerang children or elderly parents moving in with their adult children
for care and support). As the literature review suggested differences between these two
broad categories of multigenerational households, the two generation households were
analysed in two groups: those with adult children aged 25-50, and those where middle aged
people are living with their parents.
4.2 Estimates of prevalence
Table 3: Prevalence estimates of multigenerational households
Years in which data collected
Estimated percentage of
UK households
Estimated number of UK
households (millions)
2009/10
5%
1.3
2010/11
5.83%
1.6
2011/12
5.55%
1.5
2012/13
5.75%
1.5
2013/14
6.81%
1.8
The table suggests that the proportion of UK households that are multigenerational (either
with a grandparent present, or two adult generations) is increasing. Over the first five years
of the study, from wave one in 2009-2010 to wave five in 2013-2014, there was a 36.2 per
cent increase in the estimated prevalence of multigenerational households in the UK; this
roughly translates to an extra 500,000 households over this time period.
14
To explore what is driving this increase in multigenerational living, the estimates were
repeated for different definitions of ‘multigenerational’ and relevant sub-categories within
this.
Table 4: Prevalence estimates of UK households with a grandparent present
Years in which data collected
Estimated percentage of UK
households
Indicative estimated
number of UK
households
(millions)
2009/10
1.68%
0.449
2010/11
1.63%
0.435
2011/12
1.62%
0.433
2012/13
1.68%
0.449
2013/14
1.70%
0.454
The estimate of the prevalence of multigenerational households is remarkably stable over
the period. The difference between the highest and lowest estimates is 0.08. This suggests
that households with a grandparent present are not driving the increase in multigenerational
households noted previously.
Table 5: Prevalence estimates of UK households with two adult generations (with the youngest adult
aged 25 or over)
Years in which data collected
Estimated percentage of
UK households
Indicative estimated
number of UK households
(millions)
2009/10
3.32%
0.886
2010/11
4.20%
1.121
2011/12
3.93%
1.049
2012/13
4.07%
1.087
2013/14
5.11%
1.364
The estimated percentage of UK households that contain two adult generations shows an
increase of 44.4 per cent. It is the increase in this type of multigenerational household that is
behind the increase in multigenerational households overall.
Tables 4 and 5 add up to make the totals in Table 3. In addition, there were a further
approximately 300,000 households that were identified in the data set as containing
multigenerational relationships. However, the nature of these relationships could not be
clearly identified from the available data so they have been excluded from the tables above.
The total number of estimated multigenerational households is therefore conservative and
likely to be an under-estimate.
The following pie chart shows the proportion of two adult generation households by the age
of the youngest adult for wave 5 of the data.
15
Figure 1: The proportion of two adult generation households by the age (in ranges) of the youngest
adult in the household
Roughly two-thirds (64 per cent) of two adult generation households consist of households
where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34. This, combined with the information
presented about two adult generation households overall, suggests that around three per
cent of UK households have two generations with the youngest adult aged between 25 and
34. Looking over the previous waves of data, households where the youngest adult is aged
25-34 have accounted for increasingly large proportions of this type of multigenerational
household; 57.5 per cent in wave one, 58.5 per cent in wave two, 59.4 per cent in wave
three and 61 per cent in wave four.
4.3 Profiles of multigenerational households
The following profiles explore the type of households, properties and locations that
multigenerational households live in. As this was likely to differ between types of
multigenerational households, based on the evidence presented in the literature review,
separate profiles have been generated for multigenerational households where a
grandparent is present (three or more generations) and for the two sub-categories of
multigenerational households with two adult generations. The profiles are based on wave
five of the dataset, which is the most recent.
4.3.1 Households with grandparent(s) present
Characteristics of the household Around a third of these households contain no children
aged up to 15, suggesting that in these cases the grandparent is present in a household with
only grandchildren aged 16 or over. Just over 40 per cent have one child and just under 20
per cent contain two children. Fewer than 10 per cent of these households have three
children present and fewer than two per cent contain more than three children. The number
25-34
64%
35-44
16%
45-54
13%
55-64
6%
65 and over
1%
Age range of youngest adult in household
16
of children is reflective of the size of family overall, i.e. these are not particularly large
households.
Table 6: Size of households with a grandparent present
Number of people in the household
Proportion (%)
2
7.08
3
24.45
4
22.43
5
23.52
6
11.58
More than 6
10.94
Total
100
Roughly one quarter of these households contain three people, just over 20 per cent contain
four people and a similar proportion contain five people. 12 per cent of these households
have six members and seven per cent of households with a grandparent present contain
only two people presumably the grandparent and grandchild, with nobody representing the
middle generation. Around 10 per cent of households are larger than six people.
Of this type of multigenerational household, around 30 per cent have no couples within the
household, just fewer than 60 per cent contain one couple, 11 per cent have two couples
and less than one per cent contains three couples. Linked to this, around a third of these
households contain a lone parent (this is a lone parent of a child aged under 16), two per
cent contain two lone parents, but the majority (just under 70 per cent) do not have any lone
parents.
There is an interesting relationship between ethnicity and multigenerational living. When
examined overall, White British households account for 78 per cent of all households with a
grandparent present roughly 354,000 households - followed by Indian and Pakistani
households accounting for six and five per cent, respectively translating to over 21,000
Indian households and almost 18,000 Pakistani households. This would suggest that this
type of multigenerational household is a predominantly White British phenomenon, however,
a different perspective is presented through analysis of different ethnic groups individually.
When ethnic groups are examined separately for their propensity for multigenerational living,
0.4 per cent of White British households have a grandparent present. By contrast, 0.6 per
cent of British Indian households have a grandparent present, and 0.5 per cent of British
African households have this family composition. Between these two perspectives, White
British households account for the vast majority of households with grandparents present,
but this likely because it is the majority ethnic group in Britain; British African and Indian
households are slightly more likely to live in this type of multigenerational household.
Households with a grandparent present are not likely to be poor. Only one in five of these
households are living on less than 60 per cent of the equivalised median income, claim
Housing Benefit or Council Tax benefit.
Characteristics of the property and area Properties occupied by households where
grandparents (three generations) are present are likely to have three or four bedrooms (56
17
per cent and 24 per cent, respectively). Less than one per cent of properties with this type of
household composition have one-bedroomed homes, and the same applies for seven, eight
and nine-bedroomed properties. These properties are likely to have one or two rooms for
living available to the household i.e. are not bathrooms or kitchens (36 per cent and 42 per
cent, respectively); 15 per cent of homes have three rooms for living, five per cent have four
rooms available and less than one per cent of homes have five and six rooms.
The properties with grandparents present are most likely to be owner-occupied (owned
either outright or with a mortgage); 63 per cent of these properties were owned. A further 29
per cent of properties were rented from a social landlord and eight per cent rented from a
private landlord. The majority of these properties are in urban areas (84 per cent).
These households are present across the UK, however, some areas have a greater
proportion of the households.
Figure 2: The proportion of households with a grandparent present by government office region
The greatest proportion of households with a grandparent present are located in the North
West, London, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands. The smallest proportions
of households with a grandparent present are in Northern Ireland, the North East, Scotland
and the East of England.
4.3.2 Two adult generation households where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and
34 (with comparisons to two adult generation households of older ages)
Characteristics of the household Households with two generations where the youngest
adult is aged between 25 and 34 are unlikely to also contain children aged 16 or under (85
per cent), if children are present it is most likely to be just one (10 per cent). This trend is
North West
13% Yorkshire and the
Humber
8%
East Midlands
7%
West
Midlands
11%
East of
England
12%
London
16%
South East
11%
South West
7%
Wales
5%
Scotland
7%
Northern Ireland
3%
0%
Location of households
18
similar for households where the youngest adult is aged 35-54 or 55 and over (83 per cent
and 96 per cent, respectively). Across the board, these households are very unlikely to
contain a lone parent. These households are generally small; households with two
generations where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 are most likely to
comprise three (43 per cent) or four people (24 per cent). Households where the youngest
generation is older are generally smaller still; 41 per cent of households where the youngest
adult is aged 35-54 comprise two people (58 per cent in households where the youngest
adult is 55 or over), with a further 36 per cent housing three people (33 per cent for
households with all adults aged 55 and over).
Households with two generations where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 are
most likely to have one couple in the household (64 per cent) or none (a further 32 per cent).
By contrast, households where the youngest adult is older than this are most likely to have
no couples; 53 per cent of households where the youngest adult is 35-54 contain no
couples, rising to 63 per cent of households with the youngest adult aged 55 or over.
There is a similar relationship between ethnicity and two adult generation households as with
households where grandparents are present. The majority of two adult generation
households are White British (82 per cent of households with two generations where the
youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34, 85 per cent of households where the youngest
adult is aged 35 to 54 and 94 per cent of households with the youngest adult aged 55 or
over). From another perspective, however, the relationship changes; 10 per cent of British
Bangladeshi households have two adult generations living together, nine per cent of British
Pakistani households have this composition, as do seven per cent of British African
households.
Households with two adult generations are unlikely to be poor; 85 per cent of boomerang
household are not living on less than 60 per cent of the equivalised median income, claim
Housing Benefit or Council Tax benefit (83 per cent of households where the youngest adult
is 35 or over). The direction of this relationship is unclear; two adult generations may be
living together to pool resources and if all were in employment, would be very unlikely to live
in household poverty. Alternatively, two adult generations may be living together because
they have the resources to support one or more household member.
Characteristics of the property and area Properties containing two adult generations tend
to be three or four-bedroomed; 56 per cent of households with two generations where the
youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 live in three-bedroomed properties, this is 58 per
cent for households where the youngest adult is 35-54 and 60 per cent where the youngest
adult is 55 or over. A further 24 per cent of households with two generations where the
youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 are in four-bedroomed properties; this is 18 per
cent for households where the youngest adult is 35-54 and 20 per cent where all adults are
55 or over. Interestingly, for households where the youngest adult is 35-54, they are similarly
likely to be living in a two-bedroomed property than four-bedroomed (19 per cent compared
to 18 per cent).
19
The properties lived in by two adult generation households generally have one or two other
rooms available to the family for living. 35 per cent of households with two generations
where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 have one living room available, and a
further 40 per cent have two rooms available. Similarly, 37 per cent of households with all
adults aged 55 and over had one room available for living space; with a further 46 per cent
have two rooms for this purpose. Slightly differently, households where the youngest adult
was 35-54 were more likely to have one than two rooms for living; 42 per room and 37 per
cent had two living rooms.
The properties of two adult generation households are generally owner-occupied (either with
a mortgage or owned outright); 70 per cent of households with two generations where the
youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34 are owner-occupiers, as are 76 per cent of
households where the youngest adult is 35-54 and 77 per cent of households with the
youngest adult aged 55 or over. The next most likely tenure is social rented, ranging from 18
per cent of households with the youngest adult aged 35-54 to 23 per cent of households with
two generations where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34.
Properties with two adult generation households are most likely to be in urban areas; 81 per
cent of households with two generations where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and
34 are urban, as are 74 per cent of households with the youngest adult aged 35-54 and 77
per cent of households where all adults are 55 or over. These properties are present in all
government office regions of the UK.
Figure 3: The proportion of households with two generations where the youngest adult is aged
between 25 and 34 by government office region
North East
5%
North West
13% Yorkshire and the
Humber
8%
East Midlands
6%
West
Midlands
11%
East of
England
11%
London
15%
South East
11%
South West
7%
Wales
4%
Scotland
6%
Northern Ireland
3%
Location of households with two generations
where the youngest adult is aged 25-34
20
The greatest proportion of households with two generations where the youngest adult is
aged between 25 and 34 is in London (15 per cent), the North West (13 per cent) and the
South East, West Midlands and East of England (all 11 per cent). The smallest proportion of
households with two generations where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34
households is in Northern Ireland (three per cent), Wales (four per cent) and the North East
(five per cent). The proportions follow a similar pattern for households where the youngest
adult is aged between 35 and 54; however, households with all adults aged 55 and over
have a different trend.
Figure 4: The proportion of households where all adults are aged 55 or over by government office
region
The highest proportions of two adult generation households where all adults are aged 55
and over are in Scotland (17 per cent), Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber (both 11 per
cent). The lowest proportions of this type of household are in Northern Ireland, the North
East (both two per cent) and the East of England (four per cent).
4.4 Discussion
The data analysis suggests that the proportion of UK households that are multigenerational
(either with a grandparent present, or two adult generations) is increasing. In the period of
observation, from wave one in 2009-2010 to wave five in 2013-2014, there was a 36 per
cent increase in the estimated prevalence of multigenerational households in the UK. The
estimated percentage of UK households that contain two adult generations shows an
increase of 44 per cent. It is the increase in this type of multigenerational household that is
behind the increase in multigenerational households overall.
North East
2%
North West
9%
Yorkshire and the
Humber
11%
East Midlands
10%
West
Midlands
8%
East of England
4%
London
10%
South
East
7%
South West
9%
Wales
11%
Scotland
17%
Northern Ireland
2%
Location of all adult over 55 households
21
Overall, multigenerational households are relatively small (especially, two adult generation
households) and tend to occupy traditional family properties; three or four bedrooms with
one or two rooms for living space. These properties are generally in urban areas and the
reasons for this are unclear; the urban location could be important for access to employment
and amenities, it could offer more freedom for adults living together or, because it is
relatively more common, it could be seen as more acceptable in urban than rural areas.
Multigenerational households have resources; they tend to be owner-occupiers and not in
poverty. Regarding poverty, the direction of this relationship is unclear; households could
become multigenerational to pool resources to prevent poverty or having resources may
encourage multigenerational living to use this to support a household member.
22
5) Design review
This section is intended to review a sample of the house types used by the major house
building firms in order to identify those which might have the potential to be marketed as
offering the opportunity for multi-generational living.
5.1 Categories of house types
The review is based on the assumption that house builders would not wish to design a
specific house type to be marketed as offering ‘multigenerational living’, in the absence of
firm evidence of demand, but might be interested in testing the extent of potential demand by
offering a house type which could be marketed either as a conventional house, or with
minimal alteration, as suitable for alternative lifestyles and family arrangements. The review
suggests that suitable house types fall into three, or possibly four, categories:
1) Houses in which two bedrooms and a bathroom form a relatively separate suite of
rooms, either because they are on a separate floor (typically the top floor of a three
storey house, or because the plan form is ‘cranked’, so as to form a relatively
separate area of the house (typically over a double garage). These types offer the
possibility of the immediate use of this suite of rooms, either by an elderly relative or
by ‘boomerang’ adult children returning to live in the parental home, without any
alteration or conversion of the existing plan.
2) Houses in which the plan offers a particularly large double bedroom, usually with an
ensuite bathroom, often located above a double garage, and readily capable of
conversion, either within the same floor area or with a small increase in floor area, to
provide a self-contained flat with a living room, kitchenette, double bedroom and
ensuite bathroom. This plan form offers a greater degree of privacy and separation,
which may be suitable for an elderly parent, a divorced or separated child returning
home, or for an adult child with an increasingly separate lifestyle.
3) Houses which offer the opportunity of extension to provide a separate flat connected
to the original house. These might be marketed either with planning consent and
Building Regulations approvals, leaving the purchaser to engage a contactor to carry
out the work, or as an ‘off plan’ option in which the house builder would complete the
extension as part of the main work.
4) A fourth possibility exists, where a sufficiently large bedroom is provided on the
ground floor to be capable of conversion to provide a separate flat with its own
entrance. However, no plan offered by one of the major house builders that provides
such a design has yet been identified.
23
5.2 Conventional family houses marketed as ‘multigenerational’
Some house builders are already marketing larger family homes as particularly suitable for
living with adult children.
Redrow, for example, issued marketing material for a five bedroom, three storey house type
on a development at Tove Grange in Towcester, which sought to promote the two bedrooms
and bathroom on the second floor as a feature for purchasers whose adult children have
returned to live in the parental home.
Ill. 1: House type by Redrow: external appearance
Redrow’s marketing material described the house in these terms:
With a growing number of young adults living with their parents for longer, more people are
looking for a home that gives everyone some space.
Flexible accommodation and multiple bathrooms are key to parents and their grown-up
children living in harmony.
According to the Office of National Statistics there are 20% more 20 to 34-years-olds living in
the family home than in 1997. The figures include those who are yet to fly the parental nest
and the ‘boomerang generation’ – grown up children who return to live at home after
university and / or starting work because they simply can’t afford to own or rent a home of
their own.
Redrow is addressing the growing trend of multigenerational living by building homes that
allow parents and their adult children to live under one roof while also enjoying the space
and privacy they need.
For example, the five-bedroom Hampstead at Tove Grange in Towcester has two bedrooms
on the top floor otherwise known as ‘rooms in the roof’ – with a shower room between
them. It’s the ideal space for two older children or for one young adult to have his or her own
24
bedroom, a separate living area and a bathroom, all conveniently tucked away from the rest
of the household.
The first floor master bedroom has its own en-suite, as well as a dressing room, the two
remaining bedrooms on this floor share the family bathroom and there’s a cloakroom /wc on
the ground floor for guests.
“A house like this is ideal for families who are experiencing the impact of the boomerang
generation. Grown up children can enjoy some freedom and privacy on the top floor, leaving
their parents and younger siblings to share the middle floor. There are ample bathrooms so
that no one is left waiting and the Cheltenham’s ground floor accommodation is spacious
enough for the whole family,” (Area sales manager for Redrow Homes (South Midlands)
This house type is marketed under a variety of names on different sites (Hampstead,
Cheltenham, Highwood….), but the marketing material on other sites does not promote the
house as ideal for the ‘boomerang generation’, which appears to be a one-off initiative by the
Redrow South Midlands Region.
Similar house types on more recent sites include the Highgate 5 and the Bowmoor.
Ill. 2: House type by Redrow: floor plans
25
The plan undoubtedly offers a relatively private suite of two bedrooms and a bathroom on
the second floor, although with two thirds of the floor area of the house occupied by
bedrooms and bathrooms, the family living areas would probably feel cramped with three or
four adults (plus any younger siblings).
Other house builders have similar house types, but promote the privacy of the second floor
in a more conventional manner.
Taylor Wimpey have a similar house type, the 4/5 bedroom three storey Wilton.
Ill. 3: House type by Taylor Wimpey: external appearance
This has three double bedrooms (one ensuite) and a family bathroom on the first floor, and
two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. The sales brochure describes the
second floor as “Two further well proportioned bedrooms and a shower room are located on
the top floor, providing a luxurious guest suite.”
Ill. 4: House type by Taylor Wimpey: second floor plan
SECOND FLOOR PLAN
26
The second floor would obviously provide relatively private accommodation, either for the
‘boomerang generation’ or for an elderly relative. The design has straight staircases, making
the use of a stairlift practicable, if necessary.
Bellway also have a similar house type, the 5 bedroom Farjohn.
Ill 5: House type by Bellway: external appearance
In this case, the marketing material on the Bellway website does not appear to market the
house as anything other than a 5 bedroom house on three storeys, but the plan of the
second floor (shown below) clearly offers exactly the same degree of privacy as the Redrow
design.
Ill. 6: House type by Bellway: second floor plan
SECOND FLOOR PLAN
27
Bellway also use a similar three storey house type, the Castenea, on a site in Ash, Kent,
priced at £680,000.
Ill.7: House type by Bellway: external appearance
The marketing brochure says that:
The second floor is dedicated to the bonus room, which provides extra living space and has
its own en suite”, leaving open to customer interpretation as to how the space might be
used.
Ill. 8: House type by Bellway: second floor plan
SECOND FLOOR PLAN
28
5.3 Conventional family houses readily capable of conversion to provide separate
living accommodation
Barratt Homes have a house type, the Lymington, which has an exceptionally large bedroom
over the double garage.
Ill. 9: House type by Barratt Homes: external appearance
Ill. 10: House type by Barratt Homes: floor plans (original)
29
The original design could be modified to create a self-contained flat on the first floor, as
shown in the plan below.
Ill. 11: House type by Barratt Homes showing suggested modifications
GROUND FLOOR (ALTERNATIVE) FIRST FLOOR (ALTERNATIVE)
The area tinted pink shows a necessary increase in floor area of 2.1m2 on each floor, in
order to create an adequately sized double bedroom (3.7m x 2.7m), although this increase in
floor area is minor in proportion to the overall floor area of the house, approximately 161m2.
Alternatively, the area of the self-contained flat could be reorganised as two double
bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath or shower room, as shown in the drawing below.
BREAKFAST KITCHEN DINING
LOUNGE
UTILITY WC
STUDY
DOUBLE GARAGE
BEDROOM 4
BEDROOM 2
BEDROOM 3
EN SUITE
BATHROOM
BEDROOM 1 FLAT
EN SUITE KITCHENETTE
LIVING ROOM FLAT
30
Ill. 12: House type by Barratt Homes showing suggested modifications
(FIRST FLOOR ALTERNATIVE 2)
Redrow have a 5 bedroom house type, the Bradbourne, which has a large bedroom and
ensuite bathroom over the garage.
Ill. 13: House type by Redrow: floor plans
Ground Floor (original) First Floor (original)
BEDROOM 5
BEDROOM 3
BEDROOM 4
EN SUITE
BATHROOM
EN SUITE EN SUITE
BEDROOM 1
BEDROOM 2
EN SUITE
31
This could be reorganised to provide a self-contained flat with living room, kitchenette,
bedroom and bathroom, although Bedroom 5 would be lost to provide a family bathroom as
shown in the alternative first floor plan below.
Ill. 14: House type by Redrow showing suggested modifications
First floor (alternative)
BEDROOM LIVING ROOM
BATHROOM KITCHENETTE
BEDROOM BEDROOM
ENSUITE
BEDROOM BATHROOM
32
Bellway have a 5 bedroom detached house type, the Stanbridge:
Ill. 15: House type by Bellway: external appearance
In the original design, the master bedroom is a suite, with the bedroom and dressing room
occupying the area above the double garage, with an ensuite bathroom in the main body of
the house, all behind a separating door.
Ill.16: House type by Bellway: original floor plans
GROUND FLOOR (ORIGINAL) FIRST FLOOR (ORIGINAL)
The plan could be readily reorganised to provide a self-contained flat within the same area
as the current master bedroom suite, as shown in the plan below.
33
Ill. 17: House type by Bellway: showing suggested modifications
FIRST FLOOR (ALTERNATIVE)
5.4 Discussion
The design review shows that there are various existing common new build house designs
that are suitable for multigenerational households, or could easily be adapted to be suitable.
One major house builder has seen the potential to appeal to this section of the market and
has directly marketed a particular property type to multigenerational households.
ENSUITE
BEDROOM
LIVING ROOM
KITCHENETTE
34
6) Case study Singapore: the role of housing in provision for older
age
Multigenerational living is directly recognised as a household type in Singapore and a
particular housing design has been specifically developed and marketed to three generation
households. This is closely linked to the issues around supporting an ageing population and
providing childcare. A promotional film has been made to encourage households to consider
multigenerational living and a ‘3Gen’ home, linked to financial subsidies.
These developments have occurred in a housing system characterised by a high proportion
of homes being developed directly by the government, through the Housing Development
Board, and an exceptionally high rate of owner occupation, supported by an extensive
subsidy system.
The high rate of owner occupation is directly connected to Singapore’s ‘asset based welfare’
system.
6.1. The asset based welfare system
The World Bank estimates Singapore’s GDP per capita in 2014 at US$56,285, compared to
the United States at US$54,630 or the UK at US$46,332.
Singapore has relatively low personal tax levels, with income tax rising progressively in 2015
from zero on annual incomes up to SGD20,000 to a marginal rate of 15% for the band
between SGD120,000 and SGD160,000 (roughly the average income), to a top marginal
rate of 20% on all income above SGD320,000.
However, Singapore has a very limited welfare state: there is no state pension, no free
medical care, and no unemployment benefit.
Instead, Singapore has an ‘asset based’ welfare system, with mandatory employee and
employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The employee contribution rate
is 20% of gross income, and the employer rate is 17%. Contributions are tax free. The CPF
is similar to a defined contribution scheme, although the rate of interest on savings in the
scheme is effectively controlled by the government, which reduces investment risk to the
individual.
Each (employed) individual has three CPF accounts: a ‘Special’ account for retirement
saving, a Medisave Account for contributions to medical expenses, and an ‘Ordinary’
Account. The 37% total contribution rate is allocated 6% to the Special Account, 8% to the
Medisave Account and 23% to the Ordinary Account.
CPF members can use all of their present and future savings in their Ordinary Account to
purchase a flat, either for the deposit or for loan repayments.
35
6.2 Housing and the Central Provident Fund
As a result of being able to use 62% of mandatory savings from their CPF, together with
concessionary loans and grants for the lower paid from the Housing Development Board
(HDB), Singapore has one of the world’s highest home ownership rates. The HDB owns
78% of the housing stock in Singapore, and 95% of this is now owned by private
leaseholders, with only 5% rented. The private sector is 22% of the housing stock, with a
lower ownership rate (83%) and a higher rental proportion (17%).
HDB loans have an interest rate 0.1% above the interest rate on CPF accounts, with a
maximum LTV of 90% and a maximum duration of 30 years. The cost of the loan is therefore
almost equal to the interest rate on savings.
Housing as an asset therefore plays a large role in the Singapore welfare system. There are
a number of schemes whereby lower income CPF members can secure a retirement income
or an enhanced income:
CPF members with low levels of savings can pledge their property in return for the
Basic Retirement Sum, currently SGD80,500, which then provides a monthly income
of between SGD660 and 720 for life from age 65.
CPF members owning 2 or 3 room (1 or 2 bedroom) flats can sell the tail end of their
lease to the HDB, leaving a minimum lease of 30 years at age 65.
HDB owners can sublet rooms, or sublet the whole property if they go to live with
their children.
Owners can downsize: moving from a 3 room (2 bedroom) flat to a 45m2 studio
apartment would release a capital sum sufficient to provide a monthly income of
around SGD700 for a woman or SGD800 for a man, while downsizing from a 4 room
(3 bedroom) flat to a studio would produce a monthly income of around SGD1,150
for a woman or 1,300 for a man
4
.
6.3 Inter-generational care and the ‘3Gen’ home
The HDB also attempts to promote inter-generational care, with priority in flat allocations,
and by giving grants of SGD20,000 to families so that adult children can live within 2
4
Choon, C. N. (2010), ‘Social Protection in Singapore: Targeted Welfare and Asset-based Social
Security’, in Asher, M. G., S. Oum and F. Parulian (eds.), Social Protection in East Asia Current
State and Challenges. ERIA Research Project Report 2009-9, Jakarta: ERIA. pp.90-123.
http://www.eria.org/publications/research_project_reports/images/pdf/y2009/no9/CH-
04_Spore_pp.90-123.pdf
36
kilometres distance of their elderly parents, and grants of SGD10,000 to single people over
35 in order to buy a flat jointly with their parents.
The HDB also builds a small proportion of larger flats for sale as inter-generational (‘3Gen’)
units, so that an elderly parent or grandparent can live with their adult children. These are
variants on the basic 5 room (3 bedroom) 110m2 flat shown below:
37
The inter-generational ‘3Gen’ flat has an extra bedroom and ensuite bathroom in 115m2, as
shown below:
Both the living room and kitchen have been reduced in size: the resulting flat would appear
to be dependent upon the acceptance of very high degree of family intimacy.
6.4 Discussion
The Singapore case study is an interesting example of how a property type has been
developed for multigenerational living. Living as a three generation household has been
directly promoted and is supported by financial subsidies.
38
7) Case study US house builder: Lennar’s NextGen home
7.1 Lennar Homes
Lennar Homes is the second largest house building company in the USA, building 18,290m
homes across 19 States
5
. The company owns a landbank of 125,643 homesites (plots) with
options over a further 28,133 homesites. The Chief Executive has voting control over 44% of
the company’s shares.
The company describes its business as:
We offer a diversified line of homes for first-time, move up and active adult
6
homebuyers in
a variety of environments ranging from urban infill communities to golf course communities.
Our Everything’s Included
marketing program simplifies the housebuying experience by
including most desirable features as standard items. This marketing program enables us to
differentiate our homes from those of our competitors by creating value through standard
upgrades and competitive pricing, while reducing construction and overhead costs through a
simplified manufacturing process, product standardisation and volume purchasing. In
addition, our innovative NextGen homes and our advances in including solar powered
technology in certain of the homes we sell, enhance our image and improve our marketing
and sales efforts. We sell our homes primarily from models that we have designed and
constructed.
7.2 The NextGen home
Lennar describe the NextGen home as:
The home within a home: A unique new home solution for homebuyers who need to "double
up" to share the cost of their mortgage and other living expenses.
and as:
Two homes. Under one roof. For the family you’re raising and the family that raised you.
Lennar is the first production homebuilder to offer a solution for the multigenerational family,
living under one roof. The Next Gen® suite provides both privacy and togetherness for
today’s modern family—featuring a separate private entrance, bedroom, bathroom, laundry,
eat-in kitchenette and living room.
Details of the NextGen homes and associated marketing material, can be found at:
http://nextgen.lennar.com. It is clear from the marketing material that the NextGen concept is
in practice being marketed to a wide range of family types, from ‘empty nester’ couples to
extended families to adult children providing space for a parent.
5
Lennar Homes 2013 Annual Report
https://materials.proxyvote.com/Approved/526057/20140214/AR_193467/#/1/
6
‘Active adult’ is the marketing phrase for homes for the over 55s
39
The marketing material illustrates six types of potential purchasers, across three different
house plans, photographs of the ‘typical’ families and somewhat schmaltzy biographical
details. Each family’s house plan is shown, marked up with comments on how the rooms can
be configured and used differently.
The marketing of the NextGen concept appears to hover somewhat uneasily between the
idea of two generations who ‘need to double up to share the cost of their mortgage’ and two
generations who wish to live separately together for care and support.
The houses illustrated are clearly large (in stark contrast to the Singapore case study),
between 2,500 and 3,500 ft2. Lennar also sell homes, such as the one shown below, a
house in Orange County, California, with 3,160 ft2, 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, for
$1.3m. At this floor area, the ground floor plan could clearly accommodate a grandparent in
the master bedroom with sitting room suite, if required.
The six family ‘types’ in the NextGen marketing material are shown below in summary.
40
Family 1
41
Family 2
42
Family 3
43
Family 4
44
Family 5
45
Family 6
46
7.3 Discussion
This major US house builder has successfully developed a property range aimed directly at
different types of multigenerational households. The properties are marketed in a way that
reflects the flexible potential of the space in the house and uses case studies of different
purchasers to show the range of uses that can be made of the properties. The NextGen
units are quite different to the 3Gen units in Singapore. Although designed with similar
households in mind they are very different in size. But both suggest that a marketing and
design possibility exists in relation to multigenerational living.
47
8) Interviews with multigenerational households
This section presents the findings from in depth interviews with members of
multigenerational households. It describes the types of households and their living
arrangements. It analyses the drivers of multigenerational living, household financial
arrangements, and the experiences of multigenerational living. The section uses quotes from
interviews to highlight key points, but names have been changed to respect participant
anonymity. However, the case studies show that, although these issues have been analysed
and presented separately, they are clearly connected and the case studies reflect the
complexities and nuances of such household arrangements.
8.1 Household composition
The multigenerational households involved in the research included a range of different
relationships. These could be broadly categorised as three (or more) generation households
and two generation households, (with either an adult child, or an older parent), although
some households were more complex.
In the three generation households (16 interviews), generally the younger generations were
the children of the older generation (as opposed to other relatives, such as nieces or
nephews). The youngest generation in these households were not necessarily young
children, but could be young adults. Further, in some of these households there were a
range of relationships including adult siblings. For example, one household contained an
older couple, their son and daughter, their daughter’s partner and their daughter’s child.
Two generation adult child households (12 interviews) generally did not also contain the
adult child’s partner, although there was one instance of this. It was interesting to discover
that some adult children had lived independently from their family home and returned for
various reasons (see section on drivers), but others had never lived independently or had
only done so for brief periods. In some adult child households, multiple adult children were
living in the family home.
In the two generation older parent households (2 interviews), one instance was of an older
aunt rather than a parent. There were fewer interviews with this type of multigenerational
household than with adult child or three generation households. Some of the three
generation households were motivated by a desire to help the older generation, but the
household also contained their children, so did not fit into the older parent group.
Whilst a typology of household compositions was identified, many of the experiences, drivers
and arrangements of multigenerational living were similar between the groups. As such, the
remainder of the analysis will draw across the groups. See Table 1 for the household
characteristics of the interview sample.
Whilst some of the multigenerational households involved in the research had planned and
deliberately chosen these living arrangements, others were unplanned and unexpected
(such as a child never moving out of the parental home), but the majority were somewhere in
the middle. Some of the household arrangements (especially those containing adult children)
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were quite transient with people joining or leaving the household as their circumstances
changed, such as starting a new job or relationship breakdown.
8.2 Living arrangements
Multigenerational households had a range of different living arrangements. In some cases,
the household had moved to accommodate all the members (to new build or existing
properties), whereas other households formed in the existing home of one of the
generations. The ways in which multigenerational households arranged their living space fell
on a continuum from separate, self-contained dwellings to fully integrated living.
8.2.1 Separate dwellings
Some multigenerational households occupied separate, self-contained dwellings, either in
the same property (with one address) or two neighbouring properties (with two addresses).
This approach had the greatest degree of separation within the household, functioning
separately but with many of the same drivers and experiences of multigenerational living as
households with different living arrangements (see Eleanor’s case study).
Case study 1: Eleanor
Eleanor* lives with her husband, two children (aged two and six) and her parents (aged 66)
in a farmhouse that has been divided internally into two homes. There are internal doors
between the two halves of the house and the property has one address. This is a
longstanding arrangement within the property. It has always been split in her father’s lifetime
and had members of the family living in both sides.
She moved into one half the property when her husband became a student (when they were
both in their mid-20s). They wanted to move in together and her parents offered her the
other half of their property for a “cheap rent”. They planned to move out of the property when
her husband started work and before having children, but they changed their plans. “We just
couldn’t afford to buy anything like this and we got on well with my parents living next door”.
So they discussed it with Eleanor’s parents and decided to pay “proper rent” to make
improvements to the property and stay living there; “it worked, it was easier”.
Eleanor and her husband have invested in their half of the property. They have redecorated,
put in a new kitchen and bathroom and extended into the loft space to allow for a third
bedroom and ensuite. She recognises that she cannot benefit financially from the property
(she cannot sell the property, but may gain in inheritance), but they knew they would be
living there long-term and wanted to make improvements.
The whole property is owned by her parents. She and her husband pay rent and contribute
towards the household bills (the utilities are connected). Inheritance issues make this
arrangement complicated as her parents’ estate will be split between herself and her three
siblings. For her family’s financial security, she and her husband have bought a property,
which they rent out “so, if anything happened and we needed to, we could sell that house or
go and live in that house as a back-up, as a worst-case scenario”.
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She enjoys living in this arrangement; she has a better standard of living and everyone
respects each other’s privacy. “It works, it’s great I know a lot of people think we’re nuts
‘how do you live next door and blah blah blah’, but for us it has been a great experience.”
8.2.2. Annexes
Some multigenerational households made use of annexes (typically in three generation or
older parent households). The majority of these annexes were self-contained (see Helen’s
case study), but one comprised living space but not a bedroom which was a compromise to
gain planning permission (see Sue’s case study). On a similar principle, some adult child
households made use of one floor for the adult child, including at least a bedroom and
bathroom for their use (and one case of separate living space too see David’s case study).
Case study 2: Helen
Helen* lives with her mother-in-law and two teenage children; she was widowed two years
ago. Living with her mother-in-law was driven by her husband; “It was my husband – she
was getting very elderly, she lived a long way away and it became obvious that at some
point she was going to need somebody being a bit closer. That’s why we built the annexe,
why she had the annexe built”.
The annexe is a self-contained, one-bedroom unit with a breakfast-diner, lounge and
cloakroom downstairs and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs; “it’s a lovely little place, really
nice”. The annexe has a shared internal door and its own front door, but shares the same
address as the main property. The family could not get planning permission for a separate
dwelling. Building an annexe was “an attempt to keep her independence and our
independence as well, but have her fairly close”.
Helen owns the property, but would need her mother-in-law’s permission if she wanted to
sell. Helen pays for all the household bills, except for her mother-in-law’s telephone bill and
her contribution to heating costs. This arrangement was not planned or discussed before
moving in.
There is a limited care exchange in the household. Helen helps her mother-in-law with
practical tasks, but her mother-in-law has daily carers and a cleaner for the annexe. Her
mother-in-law does not provide childcare.
Multigenerational living has been challenging. Privacy is a concern with the shared internal
door, there are communication difficulties (due to poor hearing) and an emotional toll. These
issues are exacerbated by an historically strained relationship with her mother-in-law and
living with the legacy of a living arrangement instigated by her now late husband over which
she had little choice.
Case study 3: Sue
Sue* (67) lives with her daughter (40), son-in-law (45) and twin granddaughters (six). She
moved in with her daughter when her own marriage broke down. She did not plan to live with
her daughter long-term, but “we got on very well and decided it would be a good idea if we
bought a house together - we’d all have better accommodation”.
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They bought a house with five bedrooms, two sitting rooms and a large kitchen-diner. They
decided to build an annexe for extra living space for Sue. “I wanted a living space for me on
my own. We have a garage, so I took over the garage and built a room out from there, which
provides me with a living-dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom. And I sleep in the house
my son-in-law didn’t want me in the garden!” The annexe does not contain a bedroom as this
was easier for gaining planning permission. “At the moment, the way we use it, it is not
considered a ‘dwelling’, it is just a day room”. She pays a set amount each month to cover
her share of the household bills.
The property is owned by her daughter and son-in-law, but she has equity in the property. In
relation to inheritance, the equity in the property will go to her daughter and the remainder of
her estate will go to her son; both of her children know of this arrangement and she feels it is
“fair”.
She is happy with this living arrangement, only finding the situation challenging if her
daughter and son-in-law argue. She feels considered in decisions and is included in family
activities, such as holidays and day trips. “It is a nice way to live, it’s not what I would have
wanted, but I’m in this situation and it’s working well and I’m happy, and I can’t ask for more”.
Case study 4: David
David* (66) lives with his wife (64) and their daughter (32). Their daughter has always lived
with them, except for a brief period. She returned to the family home after a relationship
breakdown and was unable to afford living alone. “The reason she’s still at home is really
because of the financial position, not earning enough to be self-sufficient I’m afraid, and
doesn’t yet have a partner, so without that or a good friend she’s a bit stuck with Mum and
Dad”.
They live in a four-bedroom townhouse. His daughter has a large, ensuite bedroom on the
lower-ground floor; this room is large enough to also be used as separate living space “it’s
big enough that she can have her TV, sofa and that in there”. The family choose to spend
time together or apart; “in terms of socialising we do get together, and we do sit together of
the evening, but if she wants the choice to go and sit in her own part of the house then she
can”.
Richard and his wife own the property and pay the majority of the household costs. Their
daughter pays a nominal amount in rent; “just a nominal amount really, she makes a
contribution, she feels better making a contribution. We feel she should make a contribution
anyway to the household expense”.
The household have not found any major challenges to living together, attributing this partly
to the layout of the home; “We live in a property where we can have our own space. I think
it’s only a matter of giving each other a little bit of time and freedom really, and the layout of
the house does allow us to do that”.
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8.2.3 Integrated living
Many multigenerational households lived as a family, with their own bedrooms, possibly with
an ensuite or bathrooms that were not shared, and shared all living space. Most of these
households shared meals and spent time together in the living spaces (see the case studies
for John and Richard in this report).
8.3 Drivers of multigenerational living
Multigenerational living was motivated by different, and often multiple, factors. These factors
could be broadly categorised into reasons relating to support, finance, ideology and a lack of
motivation for independent living. Whilst these drivers will be examined separately, there
was overlap between them in relation to household decisions.
8.3.1 Support
Many multigenerational households (across the typology) included a motivation to support
other family members, including support for relatives in poor health or with disabilities and
children. It is important to note that this was support rather than care. It did not replace other
childcare arrangements or the need for carers, however, it may have reduced the need for
this (as shown in Helen’s case study, and see John’s).
Case study: John
John* (67) lives with his wife (58), their son (25) and his wife’s aunt (90). His son has
Asperger’s Syndrome and mild learning disabilities. He has always lived with them and
would not be able to live independently. His wife’s aunt moved in with them after a few falls,
she predominantly lives with them for company and support.
They live in a four-bedroom property, two of which are ensuite. The household shares all
living spaces; “Oh no, we don’t have separate living spaces, no. We all live together, we all
eat together every meal, and we all sit together in the evenings, unless my son wants to go
and play computer games on his computer in his bedroom which he sometimes does, apart
from that we’re all together”.
John and his wife own the property. His wife’s aunt contributes towards the household bills.
The main challenge of this living arrangement is the limits on time away from home for John
and his wife. “It’s more difficult to go away, if we wanted to go away for a weekend or
whatever because it’s difficult to leave [wife’s aunt], we can’t leave her on her own overnight.
We’ve gone away during the day”. Further, “because my son gets very anxious we don’t go
away for holidays more than kind of long weekends with him…he gets very anxious if we’re
away for more than three or four nights… that’s not really because it’s a multigenerational
household it’s more because of his special needs”.
8.3.2 Financial
Financial considerations were important for many multigenerational households. These
considerations could be broadly described as wanting to pool resources, affordability
concerns about independent living and wanting to save, with areas of overlap between these
categories.
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Some households (all of which were three generation households) chose to live together to
pool their resources to buy a property that was larger and more expensive than could be
afforded as separate households, or to help one generation onto the housing ladder (see
Chris’ case study).
Case study: Chris
Chris* (59) lives with his wife (58), their son (28), their daughter (31), their daughter’s partner
(29) and their grandson (aged one - daughter’s child). They live in a four-bedroom house,
with two reception rooms, a large kitchen-diner and large garden.
Their move together was prompted by their daughter’s family’s housing problems and their
desire to move away to move to the countryside. Their daughter’s partner owned a house
jointly with a friend, but this arrangement became difficult when their child was born and the
friend did not want to live with a baby. His daughter and her partner could not afford to buy
their own home with the equity in the partner’s existing property. As a result, “we all decided
to get together and buy one big house, and build up joint equity in it. And then when the time
came to go our separate ways we’d move into separate houses”.
The house is owned jointly between himself and his wife (each owning a 32 per cent share)
and their daughter and daughter’s partner (each owning a 17 per cent share). The mortgage
is split based on their share in the property and the household costs are split five ways.
Whilst the main motivation for living together was financial, he enjoys living together and
seeing his grandson. “I get to watch my grandson grow up, which I never did with my own
kids because I was a police officer and I was always working overtime to pay for everything”.
Adjusting to living together has been challenging. His daughter and her partner assume that
he is able to look after the baby, rather than asking and he and his wife have ended up doing
the bulk of the household chores. “The biggest issue is the kitchen, we seem to be the ones
who clean and tidy it most. It’s almost as though we’ve reverted back to the parental
responsibility for keeping things clean and tidy. Which we need to sort out because it’s
getting a bit irritating”.
In several households (across adult child and three generation categories) one generation
was unable to afford to live independently. In all cases in the research, those unable to
afford to move were in their late-twenties to early-thirties and some households had siblings
in this situation. In all but one case, this generation were not living with their partners. This
may suggest that part of the unaffordability issue was related to being a single household
with a single income (see David’s case study).
In some households (all but one were adult child households, the other was three
generations) living in a mutigenerational household gave the opportunity to save for the adult
child. In all but one case, people were saving for a deposit on their own home, in the other
case they were saving for a wedding.
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8.3.3 Ideological
For a few households (four of the three generation households and one adult child) there
were ideological drivers to living together. Living together was seen as culturally motivated,
in this case for households with Mediterranean origins, or beneficial to household members
through on-hand support.
“We wanted to live somewhere like this, so the children could enjoy it. My parents
wanted to see that too. And for future as well, so that my mum is now on her own
[recent widowhood], she’s with us. She helps us and hopefully we’ll be able to help
her... My mum is brilliant help with the children and [good] company, because my
husband works long hours. And, as mum gets older, hopefully we’ll be able to help
her out, like she has us” (Mary, three generation household).
“We’re very family orientated, my father was Italian and this is the way Italian families
live I’d have them all here [children and grandchildren] if I had the room!” (Linda,
three generation household).
Case study: Sarah
Sarah* (38) lives with her husband (48) and her two sons (3 and 16 months). Her parents
(aged 63 and 64) live in a property next door.
She and her husband bought the property for her parents as they enjoy each other’s
company. They have lived together before and all wanted to be close to the children. The
main motivation to live together was “you know the expression ‘it takes a village to raise a
child’”.
The extended family eat together regularly. Sarah’s husband is often away for work and her
parents “come and eat with me or all of us will go over to their house, so we actually land up
sharing a lot of meals together”.
She sometimes clashes with her mother, which is a challenge, but having their own
properties helps. “I think we’ve got it right. If we lived in the same house that would be very
challenging… because my mum and I are quite strong characters, so I think we would just
clash a lot more and because we have our own houses, we can just step back into our own
place and let the tension dissipate”. The main source of tension is ‘parenting’ styles with the
children, her mother allows bad behaviour that she wouldn’t.
Her mother has depression and Sarah appreciates being on hand to help, now and in the
future.
They are happy with their living arrangement and plan for it to be long-term. “It just works so
well for us, the whole family living situation. You’ve got privacy when you want it, you’ve got
support when you need it, you’ve got company when you want it. It’s just so fantastic for my
kids to be brought up in this environment. I don’t think any of us will have a desire to change
it”.
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8.3.4 Lack of motivation for independent living
In some households with adult children, the reasons for living together were less about being
motivated to live as one household and more a lack of motivation to live independently.
Some adult children had always lived in the family home and were happy to continue doing
so until there was a reason to move.
“It’s never been any other way, really and truly, it’s just that she’d never wanted to
move out, she didn’t go to uni or anything, which is quite often the case when they
move out and don’t come back but she didn’t do that. She didn’t go into Further
Education after college. And it’s just gone on that she’s never wanted – you know,
she could probably afford to and we’ve said ‘there’s nothing holding you here at all’.
It’s nice to have her company, but equally she’s her own person. If she wanted to she
could, but financially she’s quite low paid to have somewhere on her own and she
enjoys the company as well” (Liz, adult child household).
“We didn’t immediately expect her to move out just because she’s of age. It comes
about when they’re ready to fly the nest” (Jane, adult child household).
In one case, the adult child living independently had never been discussed or thought about:
Case study: Richard
Richard* (65) lives with his wife (64) and their son (33) in a five-bedroom property. Living in a
multigenerational household was not a planned or deliberate choice. “He just enjoys being
with us. It’s a question I’ve never asked him, he’s just part of the family that’s it.”
The family shares all the living space in the home and live as one household; “generally we
do tend to sit down and have an evening meal together”.
He and his wife own the property and they pay for all household costs. Their son does not
contribute to bills “I’ve never took a penny off [daughter, no longer living in the household] or
[son]. I don’t intend to start now, unless I’ve got to”.
They do not face any major challenges in living together; “we seem to get on well, we seem
to have adapted”.
8.4 Financial arrangements
8.4.1 Homeownership and inheritance
It was unusual for homeownership to be split between generations, this only occurred in two
cases. In many cases, one generation owned the home with no significant financial input into
the property. For example, adult children living with their parents where the parents owned
the home but the adult children had not paid for works to the house. There were some
cases, however, where the home was owned by one generation and another generation had
contributed significantly to home improvements and there were concerns about the
implications for inheritance.
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In one case there were some concerns over inheritance if the mother is put on the deeds.
“The intention was to put my mum on it [deeds] at some point because she paid for
the work, mostly. It just hasn’t happened yet….It gets a bit complicated if she
[mother] dies suddenly, then my brothers own a large chunk of my house and I can’t
buy it off them. It’s sort of silly negotiations” (Lisa, three generation household).
In another case the property is owned by the interviewee’s daughter and son-in-law. She has
equity in the property, but is not on the deeds. This was something that was discussed in
advance of the move/purchase, “it was all arranged, all discussed and all agreed before we
did anything”. There are no issues foreseen for inheritance. Her equity in the property will be
her daughter’s inheritance, with all remaining aspects of her estate going to her son. Both of
her children know of this arrangement and she feels it is “fair” (Sue, three generation
household).
Across the interviews, there appeared to be little attention paid to issues of inheritance and
the implications for others living in the household. Where discussed, most people had
‘standard’ wills that split their assets between their children without any formal consideration
for the circumstances of the other generations they lived with.
8.4.2 Household running costs
Household running costs (such as utility bills and Council Tax) were not always shared
between household members. Many adult children contributed nominal amounts or not at all.
Where this was explained, parents considered the affordability of these costs to their adult
child and/or wanted to help them save by cutting costs.
One interviewee described how the household bills/costs are not split. His parents pay all the
household bills and costs.
“Because it’s kind of understood that I won’t be there for too long and that
Portuguese people and their culture, they wouldn’t want their kids to sit there and pay
their rent. Parents just want to see them get up and running and live their lives
properly” (Daniel, adult child household).
In another case the household bills were not split, with parents paying the household costs.
“She paid us nominal sums when she could afford to” (Jane, adult child household). Some
households, particularly three generation households, had members contributing some
amounts to some bills but often this was arranged on an ad hoc basis.
In one case the Mother-in-law pays her own phone bill and contributes to the oil for heating.
The interviewee pays for all other bills for the complete household, including the annexe
where her mother-in-law lives. This is “mainly because my husband didn’t set any ground
rules when she moved in” (Helen, three generation household).
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In another case the daughter pays rent “because it makes her feel more comfortable” and
pays for the heating of the annexe (a separate heating system to the main house) and a
proportion of the council tax. “We split it sensibly” (Linda, three generation household).
A few households split bills evenly or proportionately between household members. This
was typically in cases where ownership was joint and sometimes when multigenerational
living was planned and long-term.
8.5 Experiences of multigenerational living
Whilst some multigenerational households had only positive (or only negative) experiences
of living together, the majority saw both pros and cons with their living arrangements. For the
purposes of explaining their views, the comments are separated, but household members
tended to speak about the good and bad aspects of multigenerational living together. In
many respects, the positive and negative experiences were ‘two sides of the same coin’.
8.5.1 Positive experiences
Many of the positive experiences that participants spoke about related to enjoying the
company of the other household members. As part of this, multigenerational households
could be mutually supportive environments, with benefits for all household members.
“If [husband] is working late from work, mum will come over when I’m feeding the
kids and potter around with us. She’ll help me bath them then she winds them up
before I have to put them to bed, you know!” (Sarah, three generation household).
“Tremendous benefits! Tremendous! Emotional support for me. I’m still not divorced
yet, not quite, and my daughter is absolutely wonderful, copes with me having my
emotional moments. Sharing expenses. There’s always company. We make
decisions together, we work together and go out together, all those sorts of things.
And being involved with the children, for me, and I suppose for [daughter and son-in-
law], they’ve got a built in babysitter. I look after the children when my daughter is at
work, which I think is wonderful, and it gives them the knowledge that there’s always
someone there for the children.” (Sue, three generation household).
“We live somewhere we wouldn’t have done on our own. My mum is brilliant help
with the children and company, because my husband works long hours. And, as
mum gets older, hopefully we’ll be able to help her out, like she has us” (Mary, three
generation household).
It’s rather nice that several members of the family can live together. You share all
sorts of joys and experiences” (Geoffrey, three generation household).
For some, having relatives in poor health living with them provided a ‘peace of mind’ that
they were available in an emergency, such as a fall.
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“For me, it gave me a certain peace of mind to know that mum was ok, we could look
after her. We live in a house now and I don’t want it to sound like we’ve done this
massive favour to my mum because there’s been mutual benefit – and the house we
live in now is not something that my husband and I would have been able to afford on
our own” (Laura, three generation household).
“We’re all in together, so I’m not visiting [mother at] another property, and my mother
has someone as a carer which she now needs” (Lynne, three generation household).
For those with young children, having other adults in the household was very beneficial for
ad hoc or informal childcare; this helped parents return to work, allowed parents evenings
together and provided support in an emergency.
For those households where multigenerational living had stemmed from a deliberate pooling
of resources, they appreciated the higher standard of living that this had created.
8.5.2 Negative experiences
Where household members had lived independently, living together could take some
adjusting. For the most part, this related to having less freedom than living independently, for
example, in relation to inviting guests, making noise or arguing with a partner.
“Yes, I personally have because I’ve lived on my own since I was 16 and to move in
with a family, it’s been very difficult for me. I have to share space and everything. For
me, it’s been quite difficult. But other than that, other than sharing space and trying to
keep everybody happy it’s been a big culture shock – other than that, it’s been fine.
We get left to do our own thing” (Nicola, three generation household).
“When you go to university, you gain some independence, you learn how to live
alone. In my case, I lived in another country for a year as well, so that was another
step into the uncomfortable, into the unknown, that was brilliant. It makes it very
difficult, having had all that freedom… so you get thrown back into the realm of mum
doing a lot for you, it’s very non-challenging!” (Daniel, adult child household).
“If I have an argument with my husband, you feel restrained, you can’t have a proper
row when your mother’s next door! It is a bit like always having a chaperone, which
can be a bit inhibiting. Even when she’s not there, you’re kind of aware” (Lisa, three
generation household).
“You can’t have a good row if you know people will be in and out and everyone
needs to have rows every now and again!” (Linda, three generation household).
His adult son’s computer games are noisy - “when he’s killing people – all the bangs!”
(Richard, adult child household).
At the moment they [adult sons] can’t really have friends round, because there’s
nowhere for them to go. We would need to give up the room downstairs and we
would need to go and sit in our room, or they’d need to take them upstairs, but then if
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they take them upstairs and they’re there late at night and you’re wanting to go to
bed” (Anne, adult child household).
Where one household member required a greater degree of support, this could take an
emotional toll on others in the household.
“It can be difficult, it can sometimes be quite difficult. She can make emotional
demands on the children leading to anxiety about her safety. She’s supposed to use
a frame [for walking], but she doesn’t, so consequently she falls over and that can
lead to problems” (Helen, three generation household).
Where childcare was assumed this could lead to feelings of ‘being taken advantage of’ and
clashing ‘parental’ styles could be a source of conflict.
“The stuff that goes on caused a huge amount of friction and tension, because my
mother is quite good at interfering. She likes to speak her mind. She would find it
difficult to walk away from a situation, she wouldn’t let us just parent … so that was
tricky. And because she is a lovely strong, clear-spoken, direct woman she did have
quite a few run-ins with my husband. But over the years it kind of settled down and it
did help when she went deaf! It was horrible for her we’ve got her hearing aids,
which is great but it reduced the possibility of flare-ups” (Fiona, three generation
household).
“Quite often we get dumped with looking after bubby”; she feels “taken for granted”
as her daughter and her partner “forget to ask” (Chris, three generation household).
More difficult was in cases where some households felt trapped in their living situations
because of financial considerations and feelings of ‘duty’ to support someone else.
“I think it’s going to continue. I can’t see my mum voluntarily moving out. It’s not the
sort of thing she’ll do, and we’re not going to throw her out because that would just
be wrong! Besides, we couldn’t give her back the money we owe, unless we sell the
house” (Lisa, three generation household).
“There’s not a lot I can do about it, I’m stuck at the moment, so I can’t see the
situation changing. I’ve got no intention of, well, I can’t move even if I wanted to. It
wouldn’t be fair, so I’m stuck” (Helen, three generation household).
In most situations, any challenges in the households were overcome through discussion or
compromise. Where issues could not be overcome, largely these were accepted.
8.6 Discussion and conclusions
The qualitative interviews highlighted a broad range of multigenerational household
compositions and living arrangements. In contrast to common media stereotypes, these are
not predominantly ethnic minority households or households formed for care provision for
59
elderly frail relatives. They are all ‘normal’ households whose living arrangements reflect
complex lives.
In many cases, the households identified were much more complex than indicated in the
existing literature. The discussion in the existing literature about ‘boomerang children’ is
questioned by this evidence which found that many adult children had not lived
independently, or only done so for brief periods. Further, many households lived within one
property, dispelling the myth of the prevalence of the ‘granny annexe’. There were up to four
generations living in the households, although this can be transient and people can move in
and out.
The drivers of multigenerational living were diverse and not necessarily in response to
financial concerns or care needs. Multigenerational living could be planned and deliberate or
unplanned and unintentional. It was surprising to note that many of the multigenerational
households we interviewed were unintentional and unplanned, having occurred through
circumstance rather than a plan to live together. There were complex and often overlapping
issues that had led to multigenerational living arrangements. In some cases, it had enabled
families to afford a bigger and better house together. It allowed (particularly young adults) to
save e.g. for their own house or wedding. Affordability issues were to a degree a driver of
multigenerational living, particularly where young single adults could not easily afford
independent living e.g. they were seeking employment. However, for some household,
young adults had never lived independently, nor were thought likely to. In some cases, it was
seen as culturally important and expected to live for some time as an extended family
(mentioned in households with Italian and Portuguese heritage).
Other drivers did include providing child care or support for older family members, but this
was support rather than personal care, and child care tended to be ad hoc and not a full time
replacement for other child care. Multigenerational living could be a response to unexpected
life changes e.g. death, illness, and divorce in later life. But whilst for some households it
was a predominantly pragmatic decision in response to life changes, for others it was driven
by the desire to live as an extended family, often where there had been previous experience
of living in multigenerational households as children.
In terms of the living arrangements identified, these ranged from self-contained to fully
integrated living. There were some separate dwellings (next door to each other), annexes
(some self-contained, others not), and many households living completely integrated within
one property. It was apparent that privacy is important and household members need a
degree of their own space. There were different ways of managing space e.g. some share all
rooms except the bedrooms, others have more defined separate spaces. There were
instances of the re-use of space for different family arrangements as circumstances
changed, such as cases of the re-use of annexes built for other family members.
Planning permission was identified as a barrier to self-contained living as a complete
separate annexe to a main property. In most cases people had adapted their property or
bought a property that meets the household’s needs. In some cases, this included a degree
of ‘future-proofing’ by making downstairs living possible and adding adaptations.
60
The interviews raised numerous issues in relation to financial arrangements. What was
apparent was that issues relating to future inheritance were reliant on goodwill and not on
clear legal arrangements. Inheritance was not always discussed openly. There was a
surprising lack of acknowledgement of the potential vulnerability of these informal
arrangements. There were some examples of family members contributing significantly to
the purchase or building works to the collective home, but not being named on the property
deeds.
There were a range of financial arrangements. It was unusual to split all household costs
equally or proportionately. This was linked to the drivers of multigenerational living e.g.
where young adults were saving for their own property. Adult children do not always
financially contribute at all, or undertake household chores.
In terms of the experience of multigenerational living, the evidence from the interviews
suggests that enjoyment of multigenerational living may be affected by the degree of choice
in the arrangement and the level of freedom that the household and property afforded. It was
clear that young children enjoy living in extended households and everyone enjoyed being
able to have family time. It enabled flexibility of childcare and the sharing of some chores.
The interviews reflected the financial and personal issues that often resulted from divorce,
illness, the pressures on working mothers and the pressures of wanting to support older
parents or adult children. It can be a positive choice, providing company, sharing, a close
family network, and positive family experiences for all members. It was less positive where
constrained and not a personal choice.
The interviews showed that parents still felt a strong duty of care to grown up children. In
most cases there were very traditional gender divisions of household labour, but adult
children often did not contribute to household labour. For older people there were issues
around the noise and mess of living with young children, but this was balanced against the
enjoyment of sharing in their growing up. Most people dealt with tensions through dialogue.
Clear intergenerational benefits were identified. Whilst people were providing support but not
personal care for older parents, they were in receipt of some childcare, in expectation in
some cases of having to provide care in the future as parents aged. The interviews did not at
all support the stereotype in the media of multigenerational living being driven by care
provision for elderly frail relatives. It was also not a culturally specific living arrangement.
A number of challenges of multigenerational living were identified. The different approaches
to childcare were sometimes source of tension with clashing parenting styles. For some
there was a perceived reduced freedom and privacy and a restriction on having guests and
arguments. It was challenging to be ‘stuck’ in multigenerational living arrangements, being
financially unable to move, or ‘duty-bound’ to continue the arrangement. There was a need
in some cases to mediate family tensions.
The interviews identified a number of requirements for multigenerational living. This includes
the ability to have or to manage privacy. People want to live separately, but not too separate.
There needs to be space for interaction such as family meals, but some privacy. Bathrooms
61
can be an issue if everyone needs to be ready at the same time, so ensuites or multiple
bathrooms were welcomed. A positive feature of a property was the ability to adapt it for
different family arrangements over time and enable future-proofing.
Overall, the findings from these interviews challenge many media stereotypes. There is
demand for multigenerational living from ‘normal’ households. The degree of choice over
multigenerational living seems to affect enjoyment. There are more positive experiences
where there are benefits to all parties. Privacy is important but also the flexible use of any
‘additional’ space. The best model was some shared spaces, open-plan dining, and some
private space.
Table 1: Household characteristics of interview sample
Interview
number
Household type
Household composition
MGL 1
Three generation
Self (38), husband (48), two sons (16 months, 3.5),
mother (63), father (64)
MGL 2
Three generation
Self (25), two sons (9, 2), mother (58), father (60)
MGL 3
Three generation
Self, husband deceased, two children (13, 15), mother-
in-law
MGL 4
Three-plus
generation
Self (36), husband (45), four children (9, 7, 5, 2), mother
(67), grandfather (94) recently deceased
MGL 5
Three generation
Self, husband, two children (2 and 6), parents (both 66)
MGL 6
Three generation
Self (64), husband (62), adult child (33), granddaughter
(4)
MGL 7
Adult child
Self (60), husband (63), adult child (33)
MGL 8
Three-plus
generation
Self (28), partner (37), two children (16 months, 5),
‘mother-in-law’ (59), ‘father-in-law’ (63)
MGL 9
Three generation
Self (67), adult child (40), son-in-law (45), twin
grandchildren (6)
MGL 10
Three generation
As above participant MGL 10 is adult child of MGL 9
MGL 11
Adult child
Self (23), parents (both 56)
MGL 12
Three generation
Self, husband, two children (13 and 6), mother (73)
MGL 13
Three generation
Self, adult son (32), grandchild (from daughter, 11), adult
daughter (29) and grandchild (from daughter, 2) moved
out two months ago
MGL 14
Three generation
Self (60), husband (60), adult son (29 twin), mother (93),
adult son (29 twin) moved out two months ago
62
MGL 15
Adult child
Self (48), husband (48), adult daughter (18), adult son
(21), son’s partner (24)
MGL 16
Three generation
Self (67), wife (58), adult child (25), wife’s aunt (90)
MGL 17
Elderly parent
Self (62), mother (92)
MGL 18
Adult child
Self (50), husband (67), adult child (25) moved out three
months ago
MGL 19
Adult child
Self (66), wife (69), adult child (37)
MGL 20
Adult child
Self (65), wife (62), adult child (28)
MGL 21
Elderly parent
Self (65), wife (63), mother-in-law (93)
MGL 22
Adult child
Self (65), wife (64), adult child (33)
MGL 23
Adult child
Self (57), wife (55) adult children (31, 29)
MGL 24
Adult child
Self (66), wife (64), adult child (32)
MGL 25
Adult child
Self (57), husband (59), adult children (32, 27)
MGL 26
Three generation
Self (73), wife (72), adult child (45), grandchildren (16,
12)
MGL 27
Adult child
Self (56), partner (50), adult child (24)
MGL 28
Adult child
Self (60), wife (51), step-daughter (24)
MGL 29
Three generation
Self (59), wife (58), adult son (28), adult daughter (31),
son-in-law (31) grandchild (from daughter, 1)
MGL 30
Three-plus
generation
Self (57), husband (58), grandchildren (13, 10, 9, 8),
mother (83)
63
9) House builder interviews
The interviews show that house builders recognise the opportunity of multigenerational
living, but also have concerns. There are concerns about entering niche markets and
generally wanting to “play it safe”.
Housebuilders will typically aim to build the majority of their homes from a range of standard
plans, developed and tested over perhaps two decades of experience. New house types
may be developed and tested on a small number of sites before being rolled out across the
company.
There have been attempts to try and show different home layout options using furniture in
show homes. House builders have experimented with offering alternative internal layouts,
but commented that purchasers often have great difficulty in visualising what an alternative
might look like when built, and are sometimes disappointed by the reality. One major house
builder previously had an initiative to remove load-bearing internal walls to allow for a flexible
layout. This gave customers the option to choose different configurations, if they bought the
property early enough in the build. However, some customers were not happy with the final
product, despite choosing it.
As a result, house builders have become reluctant to offer options for different internal
layouts, preferring to offer a wider range of optional ‘extras’, such as additional kitchen or
bathroom fittings, electric and media outlets, and finishes for purchaser choice.
One major house builder said that they had never “thought seriously” about
multigenerational living. However, they noted that in Japan multigenerational living is
commonly catered for in new build housing, often with separate areas or storeys for different
generations.
64
10) Discussion
In this research we have considered households as multigenerational where there are three
or more generations of the same family living together, or where there are two generations
consisting of parents and one or more adult children (over the age of 25).
There are two main forms of multigenerational living. One is where three generations of the
same family live together, with grandparents living with younger generations, e.g. their
children and grandchildren. The second main type is two adult generations of the same
family living together. Within this type are two sub-groups. One is households with parents
living with their older, adult, non-dependent children. The other is that of a household with
middle aged people living with their elderly parents.
The literature review showed that there is little existing evidence about multigenerational
living, and many references to data are incorrect. Most knowledge about multigenerational
households is anecdotal.
The data analysis suggests that the proportion of UK households that are multigenerational
(either with a grandparent present, or two adult generations) is increasing. In the period of
observation, from wave one in 2009-2010 to wave five in 2013-2014, there was a 36 per
cent increase in the estimated prevalence of multigenerational households in the UK. The
analysis suggests that households with a grandparent present are not driving the increase.
The estimated percentage of UK households that contain two adult generations shows an
increase of 44 per cent. It is the increase in this type of multigenerational household that is
behind the increase in multigenerational households overall. The data suggests that 6.81 per
cent of UK households are multigenerational, which is roughly equivalent to 1.8 million
households. Over two-thirds of two adult generation households consist of households
where the youngest adult is aged between 25 and 34.
There is an interesting relationship between ethnicity and multigenerational living. Four out
of five of multigenerational households in the UK are White British, although some ethnic
groups (predominantly Asian groups) are more likely than White British people to live in
extended households.
The data shows that multigenerational households are not likely to be poor. Properties are
likely to have three or four bedrooms. These properties are likely to have one or two rooms
for living available to the household i.e. are not bathrooms or kitchens. They are most likely
to be owner-occupied. The majority of two adult generation households are White.
The design review shows that there are various existing common new build house designs
that are suitable for multigenerational households, or could easily be adapted to be suitable.
One major house builder has seen the potential to appeal to this section of the market and
has directly marketed a particular property type to multigenerational households.
Case studies in the US and Singapore show how property types have been developed for
these households and marketed and financially encouraged. Multigenerational living is
65
directly recognised as a household type in Singapore and a particular housing design has
been specifically developed and marketed to three generation households. This is closely
linked to the issues around supporting an ageing population and providing childcare. A major
US house builder has successfully developed a property range aimed directly at different
types of multigenerational households. The properties are marketed in a way that reflects the
flexible potential of the space in the house and uses case studies of different purchasers to
show the range of uses that can be made of the properties. The NextGen units in the US are
quite different to the 3Gen units in Singapore. Although designed with similar households in
mind they are very different in size. But both suggest that a marketing and design possibility
exists in relation to multigenerational living.
The interviews showed that, in contrast to common media stereotypes, these are not
households deliberately formed for care provision for elderly frail relatives or a forced
arrangement due to the unaffordability of alternative housing solutions. They are all ‘normal’
households whose living arrangements reflect complex lives.
The discussion in the existing literature about ‘boomerang children’ is questioned by the
evidence which found that many adult children had not lived independently, or only done so
for brief periods. Further, many households lived within one property, dispelling the myth of
the prevalence of the ‘granny annexe’. The interviews also did not support the stereotype in
the media of multigenerational living being driven by care provision for elderly frail relatives.
It was also not a culturally specific living arrangement. It was also not a culturally specific
living arrangement.
The drivers of multigenerational living were diverse and not necessarily in response to
financial concerns or care needs. There were complex and often overlapping issues that had
led to multigenerational living arrangements. In some cases, it had enabled families to afford
a bigger and better house together. It allowed (particularly young adults) to save e.g. for their
own house or wedding. Affordability issues were to a degree a driver of multigenerational
living, particularly where young single adults could not easily afford independent living e.g.
they were seeking employment. However, for some household, young adults had never lived
independently, nor were thought likely to.
Other drivers did include providing child care or support for older family members, but this
was support rather than personal care, and child care tended to be ad hoc and not a full time
replacement for other child care. Multigenerational living could be a response to unexpected
life changes e.g. death, illness, and divorce in later life. But whilst for some households it
was a predominantly pragmatic decision in response to life changes, for others it was driven
by the desire to live as an extended family.
The interviews raised numerous issues in relation to financial arrangements. What was
apparent was that issues relating to future inheritance were reliant on goodwill and not on
clear legal arrangements. Inheritance was not always discussed openly. There was a
surprising lack of acknowledgement of the potential vulnerability of these informal
arrangements. There were some examples of family members contributing significantly to
66
the purchase or building works to the collective home, but not being named on the property
deeds.
In terms of the experience of multigenerational living, the evidence from the interviews
suggests that enjoyment of multigenerational living may be affected by the degree of choice
in the arrangement and the level of freedom that the household and property afforded. It was
clear that young children enjoying living in extended households and everyone enjoyed
being able to have family time. It enabled flexibility of childcare and the sharing of some
chores. The interviews reflected the financial and personal issues that often resulted from
divorce, illness, the pressures on working mothers and the pressures of wanting to support
older parents or adult children. It can be a positive choice, providing company, sharing, a
close family network, and positive family experiences for all members. It was less positive
where constrained and not a personal choice.
A number of challenges of multigenerational living were identified. The different approaches
to childcare were sometimes source of tension with clashing parenting styles. For some
there was a perceived reduced freedom and privacy and a restriction on having guests and
arguments. It was challenging to be ‘stuck’ in multigenerational living arrangements, being
financially unable to move, or ‘duty-bound’ to continue the arrangement. There was a need
in some cases to mediate family tensions.
The interviews identified a number of requirements for multigenerational living. This includes
the ability to have or to manage privacy. People want to live separately, but not too separate.
There needs to be space for interaction such as family meals, but some privacy. Bathrooms
can be an issue if everyone needs to be ready at the same time, so ensuites or multiple
bathrooms were welcomed. A positive feature of a property was the ability to adapt it for
different family arrangements over time and enable future-proofing.
Overall, the findings from these interviews challenge many media stereotypes. There is
demand for multigenerational living from ‘normal’ households. The degree of choice over
multigenerational living seems to affect enjoyment. There are more positive experiences
where there are benefits to all parties. Privacy is important but also the flexible use of any
‘additional’ space. The best model was some shared spaces, open-plan dining, and some
private space.
The interviews show that house builders recognise the opportunity of multigenerational
living, but also have concerns. There are concerns about entering niche markets and
generally wanting to “play it safe”.
The data analysis and review suggests that there is a market opportunity for the UK house
building sector. The number of multigenerational households in the UK is growing, driven by
choice and pragmatism. Whilst some households may move deliberately to accommodate a
new multigenerational household, others may purchase a home with the potential for this
use in the future.
67
Evidence from the interviews about how households use the space in their homes, suggests
that multigenerational household do not require a vastly different layout to homes already
being produced. Most homes had a separate bedroom, bathroom and living space (either a
large bedroom with space for living or a room elsewhere in the home) within the one
property. Many households ate together; separate kitchens were not necessarily required or
desired.
House builders could consider different marketing strategies to attract multigenerational
households, demonstrating the value of a suite of rooms, such as those on the top storey of
a townhouse.
Small tweaks to existing stock designs could accommodate multigenerational households
well, whilst also appealing to ‘traditional’ households.
68
11) Appendices
11.1 References
50 Plus magazine (2015) Multi-generational Living The Pitfalls. Available at:
http://www.50plusmagazine.co.uk/multi-generational-living-the-pitfalls/ [Accessed 27/08/15]
Ancestry.com (2012) Multi-generational households approach ‘Victorian levels’. Available at:
http://www.ancestryeurope.ie/press/press-releases/uk/2012/02/multi-generational-
households-approach-victorian-levels-/ [Accessed 27/08/15]
Aspin, C. (2015) What is multigenerational living and could it work for you? Saga. Available
at: http://www.saga.co.uk/money/work-and-retirement/what-is-multigenerational-living-and-
could-it-work-for-you.aspx [Accessed 26/08/15].
Aviva (2012) The Aviva Family Finances Report. London: Aviva. Available at:
https://www.aviva.com/data/mediauploads/news/File/RDhub_reports/Family%20Finances%2
0Report%2022%20August%202012.pdf [Accessed 27/08/15]
Babbie, E. (2001). The Practice of Social Research: 9th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Thomson.
Burholt, V. (2004) The settlement patterns and residential histories of older Gujuratis,
Punjabis and Sylhetis in Birmingham, England. Ageing and Society, 24 (3): 383-409
Burholt, V. and Dobbs, C. (2014) A support network typology for application in older
populations with a preponderance of multigenerational households. Ageing and Society, 34
(7): 1142-1169
Berrington, A., Stone, J., and Falkingham, J. (2009) The changing living arrangements of
young adults in the UK. Population Trends, 138 : 27-36
Boyce, L. (2014) Waltons-style living: The new breed of shared homes that will house
multiple generations and boast two front-doors... Available at:
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2652740/Generations-family-
pooling-buy-home.html [Accessed 21/01/16]
Choon, C. N. (2010), ‘Social Protection in Singapore: Targeted Welfare and Asset-based
Social Security’, in Asher, M. G., S. Oum and F. Parulian (eds.), Social Protection in East
Asia Current State and Challenges. ERIA Research Project Report 2009-9, Jakarta: ERIA.
pp.90-123.
Daily Mail (2014) New figures show more than one-in-four households now have domestic
help as the ‘Downton effect’ leads toy young people wanting their own servants. Daily Mail,
31 January 2014. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549242/New-figures-
one-four-people-domestic-help-Downton-effect-leads-young-people-wanting-servants.html
[Accessed 27/08/15]
69
Davidson, M. (2013) Generation game: the return of the extended family home. The
Telegraph, 9 May 2013. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/buying-
selling-moving/10046242/Generation-game-the-return-of-the-extended-family-home.html
[Accessed 27/08/15]
Dutta, K. (2012) Beating the housing shortage: one home, three generations. The
Independent, 8 April 2012. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-
news/beating-the-housing-shortage-one-home-three-generations-7626973.html [Accessed
27/08/15]
Easthope et al. (2015) Feeling at home in a multigenerational household: the importance of
control. Housing, Theory and Society, 32(2): 151-170
Ford, J., Rugg, J., and Burrows, R. (2002) Conceptualising the Contemporary Role of
Housing in the Transition to Adult Life in England. Urban Studies, 39 (13): 2455-2467
ILC Global Alliance (2012) Global Perspectives on Multigenerational Households and
Intergenerational Relations. London: ILC UK. Available at:
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/global_perspectives_on_m
ultigenerational_households_and_intergenerational_r [Accessed 27/08/15]
Keene, J. R. And Batson, C. D. (2010) Under one roof: A review of research on
intergenerational coresidence and multigenerational households in the United States.
Sociology Compass, 4 (8): 642-657
Lennar Homes (2013) Annual Report. Available at:
https://materials.proxyvote.com/Approved/526057/20140214/AR_193467/#/1/ [Accessed
21/01/16]
Lesthaeghe, R. (2010) The Unfolding of the Second Demographic Transition. Population and
Development Review, 36 (2): 211-251
Loddington, A. (2013) Multi-generational mortgages to become the norm? Financial reporter.
Available at: http://www.financialreporter.co.uk/mortgages/multi-generational-mortgages-to-
become-the-norm.html [Accessed 26/08/15]
ONS (2014) What does the 2011 Census tell us about concealed families living in multi-
family households in England and Wales. Available at:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_350282.pdf [Accessed 26/08/15]
ONS (2014b) Three generation households, UK, 2001-2013. Excel spreadsheet
ONS (2011) Families and Households in England and Wales 2011. Available at:
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70
ONS (2014c) Families and households, 2014. Available at:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2014/families-
and-households-in-the-uk--2014.html [Accessed 19-01-16]
Perkins, H. (n.d.) Surge in three generations of a family living under the same roof. Express,
no date. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/457119/Surge-in-three-generations-
of-a-family-living-under-the-same-roof [Accessed 27/08/15]
Pilkauskas, N. V. and Martinson, M. L. (2014) Three-generation family households in early
childhood: comparisons between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Demographic Research, 30: 1639-1652. Available at:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241854/pdf/nihms592305.pdf [Accessed
26/08/15]
Pruchno, R. A., Dempsey, N. P., Carder, P. And Koropeckyj-Cox, T. (1993)
Multigenerational households of caregiving families: Negotiating shared space. Environment
and Behavior, 25 (5): 349-366
Simpson, S. (2015) Bricks, Mortar and Policy Perspectives for Intergenerational Living.
London: Housing Learning & Improvement Network. Available at:
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Smitz, A., van Gaalen, R. J. And Mulder, C. H. (2010) Parent-Child Coresidence: Who
moved in with whom and for whose needs? Journal of Marriage and Family, 72 (4): 1022-
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generations-living-together-to-save-cash.html [Accessed 27/08/15]
71
11.2 Potential data sources for analysing multigenerational living
ELSA
Respondents aged 50 and over
Longitudinal (6 waves of data available, spanning 12 years)
England only
Data for relationships between respondent and other people in household (including
older and younger generations)
Understanding Society
Adult respondents all ages (around 40,000 households)
Longitudinal - 4 waves of yearly data (5th wave due for release November 2015)
UK wide
Ethnic minority boost sample Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, African
Data for relationships within household
English Housing Survey
Around 13,300 households per year
Data for relationships within household
Reasons for people living in household who might otherwise be living separately
All of the above surveys could estimate multigenerational living. The best survey for doing
this is Understanding Society it is the largest, UK wide and has an ethnic minority boost
sample (ensuring at least 1,000 adults in the five ethnic groups listed). The ethnic minority
boost sample may allow us to explore ethnicity in relation to multigenerational living. As it
covers adults of all ages, there is no inherent bias about the age of the different generations,
whereas with ELSA one generation has to be 50 or over (which may exclude young mums
living at home).
Article
This paper examines the role of domestic materiality in the construction of extended family identity. It investigates how extended family members experience tensions during new family formation and the ways in which materiality contributes to the resolution of these tensions and the construction of a new family identity. Our findings suggest that the intersubjectivities centred on domestic material objects cause tensions in relationships. However, it is through a process of negotiation stimulated by these intersubjectivities that a new extended family identity emerges. We identify four materiality capacities in this process of negotiation: catalysing, associating, disassociating, and bridging. We posit that these negotiations are an essential part of the process of identity formation given that they motivate a new understanding of competing family discourses, changes to individual and collective status, and a restructuring of family, especially family structure, character, and intergenerational orientation.
Article
Many worldwide live in households with multiple generations of related adults. This paper shows that the number of UK multigenerational households has been increasing but UK multigenerational households have been little studied. The research found that the motivations for multigenerational living are diverse and reflect multiple intersecting structural pressures, including an ageing population, worsening housing affordability and later household formation amongst young people. These intersect with individual circumstances, such as divorce or illness, to make multigenerational living the most practical option for some families. However, forming a multigenerational household is also often an individual and family choice, based on the expectation of mutual benefits brought about by multigenerational living. The research suggests that the extent to which living in a multigenerational household is a positive experience is determined by an individual’s degree of agency and choice in the arrangement, rather than an ability to cope with wider structural pressures.
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