Multigenerational households are on the rise

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Research from UNSW suggests multigenerational households are on the rise, and planning needs to shift to meet these requirements, particularly for apartments. File image.

New research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) suggests multigenerational households are on the rise, with families reconsidering their living options and moving in with parents, children and grandparents.

“You have young people who, increasingly, are unable to afford to leave home, and at the same time, you have [their parents and grandparents] experiencing perhaps similar financial stress,” says Senior Research Fellow from the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, Dr Edgar Liu.

“We find that whether forced to live in the arrangement because of financial pressure or not, people like having their family around, and having that companionship and support.

“It’s a way for families to stay connected, and allows for greater intergenerational connections … especially for the older generation, they can be closer to the family and spend more time with the grandkids.”

Dr Liu says the fastest-growing age group for multigenerational household members are those over 65. He said the Royal Commission into aged care has seen an aversion to moving into aged care: “more families are considering providing that care and support themselves”.

Dr Liu says while the experience is positive for some families, some arrangements may put strain on family relationships.

“It’s quite hard to find a house with enough bedrooms that’s affordable, has reasonable access to jobs and services appropriate to the needs of each generation,” he says.

“At the moment, much of the new housing we see are provided as apartments, and they are typically small with one to two bedrooms, which is not really suitable to most family arrangements. So it is a bigger planning issue around how we have the right mix of housing for people.”

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