Design Trends

Multigenerational Living in Maryland

Multigenerational FamilyRecently, we met with a family in Maryland who’s considering a remodel that will support multigenerational living. After our meeting, we became somewhat intrigued by the concept of multigenerational households and thought about past projects we designed and built, including mother-in-law suites, additions and other changes that created needed space and functionality for families. To learn more about multigenerational households, we headed to the web and here’s what we found:


The U.S. Census Bureau defines multigenerational families as those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof. Many researchers also include households with a grandparent and at least one other generation.


Due to the Great Recession and other factors, multigenerational households have rapidly increased in the last few years:

  • One in six Americans currently lives in a multigenerational household
  • The number of households rose from 46.5 million in 2007 to 51.4 million by the end of 2009 – a 10.5 percent increase in just three years.
  • In 1980, multigenerational households accounted for 12 percent of the U.S. population. By 2010, this number had climbed to an estimated 16.1 percent.
  • About 4.2 million of the 113.6 million U.S. households consist of three or more generations.


Five major factors are impacting the increase in multigenerational households:

  • Slower starts: People are marrying later; more unmarried 20-somethings continue to live with their parents by choice or due to economic necessity.
  • Immigration: Latin Americans and Asians have immigrated to Maryland, the DC metro area and other part of the U.S. in large numbers; immigrants are more likely to live in multigenerational households.
  • Availability of kin: A high percentage of Baby Boomers in Maryland enjoy financial security and are able to welcome their aging parents into their homes, while providing their young or young adult children a place to reside.
  • Health and disability issues: Across the board, increasing numbers of Americans suffer from chronic conditions and disabilities; many move in with family members to gain access to caregivers for themselves and/or their children.
  • Economic conditions: With the Great Recession, many Americans struggle with job loss or other forms of reduced income. Sharing household expenses across generations makes them more manageable.


Multigenerational households come in all shapes and sizes; the common types include:

  • Three-generation: The most common multigenerational household arrangement consists of three generations – typically one or more working-age adults, one or more of their children (who may also be adults), and either aging parent(s) or grandchildren.
  • Grandfamilies: There are growing numbers of grandfamilies, which are households headed by an older individual or couple who live with grandchildren under age 18.
  • Two-adult generations: Most two-generation households consist of parent(s) and child(ren) under the ages of 18 to 22. However, households with “boomerangs” are on the rise – grown children who return to their childhood household because of unemployment, underemployment or other factors.
  • Four-generation: Once a rarity, the four – or five-generation household – parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, adult children, their children – is more commonplace and socioeconomically significant.


Are you considering a remodel for multigenerational living or are already part of a multigenerational household? Have any of the above factors related to you and your family?

We hope you found this data as informative and helpful as we did! And, as always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Reach me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


Source Note: This post was compiled with data from the Generations United website.

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