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Multigenerational households on rise in U.S.


Got grandma? More grandparents, parents and kids are living together under the same roof, driven to cohabitate by a sluggish economy and, in some cases, cultural preferences.

More than 4.3 million, or 5.6 percent, of the 76 million family households in the U.S. today are multigenerational households, or families living together that include a grandparent, parent and children as well as other family members, according to a study by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey released Thursday.

The number of multigenerational families has grown during the past decade. In 2000, 3.7 percent of U.S. households were multigenerational. By 2010, that number had increased to 4 percent.

"Multigenerational households may be more likely to reside in areas where new immigrants live with their relatives, in areas where housing shortages or high costs force families to double up their living arrangements or in areas that have relatively high percentages of children born to unmarried mothers who live with their children in their parents’ homes," researcher Daphne A. Lofquist wrote in the American Community Survey report.

The American Community Survey conducts small-area estimates on a wide range of statistics about people and housing for every community across the country and Puerto Rico. The estimates released Thursday cover a three-year period from 2009 to 2011 for areas with populations of 20,000 or more.  The survey is the primary source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, income, poverty, occupation, language, nativity, ancestry and homeownership.

Among the states, Hawaii had the highest percentage of multigenerational households, accounting for around 11 percent of all families living together there.

The South and West led the list, with more than 85 percent of states in those areas exceeding the national level. Southern states with percentages above the national level included the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and Texas, all ranging from 5.9 percent to 7.3 percent. Western states with large numbers of multigenerational homes included Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico, each ranging from 6.2 percent to 11.1 percent.

In the Northeast, only New Jersey and New York had percentages above the national level. The state with the smallest percentage of multigenerational households was North Dakota, with around 2 percent.

Among multigenerational households nationally, nearly 65 percent included a head of household, a child and a grandchild. Thirty-four percent of multigenerational households contained a head of household, a parent or parent-in-law and a child, and those households tended to be in the Northeast and West. Only 1.7 percent of multigenerational households contained a parent or parent-in-law, a head of household, a child and a grandchild.

By race, multigenerational households ranged from 3.7 percent for non-Hispanic, White alone households to 13 percent for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. More than 10 percent of Hispanic and American Indian and Alaska Native households were multigenerational, while more than 9 percent of Black and Asian households were multigenerational.