How Multigenerational Families Live Under One Roof

Many American families are discovering an upside to a down economy: Three or more generations living under the same roof -- and liking it!
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Multigenerational Households: A Growing Trend

When President Obama's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, moved into the White House to help care for her grandchildren, she became not only First Grandma but also the new face of an old tradition: multigenerational living. Some 6 million American families, or one in 20 households, have more than two generations residing under one roof. The situations range from elderly parents living with adult children and grandchildren to "boomerang" adults returning with their own kids in tow to bunk with Mom and Dad after a divorce, layoff, or house loss. Living this way has long been common in certain ethnic and rural cultures (remember The Waltons?), but the trend is growing in all demographic groups. And for many families, what started as a solution to a crisis is turning out to be a positive, powerful experience for all involved. In a multigenerational household, seniors find respite from loneliness, kids learn history firsthand, and those sandwiched in between get reliable childcare, help with bills and chores -- and a little less squeezed by modern life. "They're realizing families are stronger together than apart," says Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on intergenerational cooperation. Meet three families that second that emotion.

Continued on page 2:  Three Families on Three Different Floors


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