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States with the most multigenerational households

  • States with the most multigenerational households

    People worldwide are looking to do anything they can to mitigate their risk of getting sick during the COVID-19 pandemic, from social distancing and quarantining to wearing masks when outside the home. Unfortunately for those living in multigenerational households, staying home still presents a risk.

    Those living in homes with multiple generations are more at risk for contracting the virus, as younger members of the household could transmit the virus to older and more vulnerable relatives. This danger is heightened in families in which working-age members of the family are not able to work remotely, such as grocery store clerks or health care professionals.

    Even before the new coronavirus, other trends were clear when considering the rise of multigenerational households in the United States. One trend spurring the growth of such households was the Great Recession, which created harsh economic conditions that forced many millennial children to move back in with their parents—so called “boomerang” kids. Another trend that has contributed to multigenerational living has been the spike in home prices in parts of the country, particularly tech hubs like Seattle, which makes it difficult for different generations of the same family to each be able to afford their own homes.

    And not all states share these demographics or trends equally. To identify the states with the most multigenerational households, Stacker used 2018 data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS), released in 2019. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are ranked according to their share of multigenerational households, defined by the Census Bureau as family households consisting of three or more generations. The story also offers data on each state’s share of households that include grandparents living with their grandchildren; these figures differ slightly from the numbers of multigenerational households because some grandparents and grandchildren live together without parents. Other resources, including research from Pew, provide context on age, racial, and ethnic groups.

    Click through for a look at states with the most multigenerational households.

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  • #51. North Dakota

    - Total multigenerational households: 4,472 (1.4% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 5,079 (1.6% of total, #1 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 314,903

    Studies have shown that the likelihood of a household being multigenerational may be related to its racial composition, with white households being less likely to be multigenerational. So it’s no surprise that North Dakota, which is 87% white, has the lowest number of multigenerational households.

  • #50. Iowa

    - Total multigenerational households: 22,169 (1.8% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 25,363 (2.0% of total, #2 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 1.3 million

    Although Iowa ranks low on the list of states with multigenerational housing, some Iowans who live in houses with multiple generations have gone on to make a name for themselves because of it. The prestigious Iowa Writers’ Fellowship has awarded one such Iowa citizen its top prize, who places growing up in a multigenerational household at the very top of her biography.

  • #49. Montana

    - Total multigenerational households: 7,665 (1.8% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 9,692 (2.3% of total, #6 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 423,240

    Few families in Montana live with multiple generations under one roof, but at least one Montana architecture firm is expecting that to change. Engel&Volkers is encouraging clients to consider the rapidly aging population in the United States as they think about designing their homes, and has drawn up options for homes that accomodate aging parents.

  • #48. South Dakota

    - Total multigenerational households: 6,483 (1.9% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 8,009 (2.3% of total, #8 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 341,565

    Few households in South Dakota are multigenerational, but this isn’t the case across all demographic groups. Approximately 20% of the state’s Native American population lives in multigenerational housing, according to census data. 

  • #47. Wisconsin

    - Total multigenerational households: 46,083 (2.0% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 48,691 (2.1% of total, #3 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 2.3 million

    Although Wisconsin has been slow to arrive at multigenerational living, a housing trend in the state is starting to change all that. Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors notes that home inventory in the state has been tight for several years, which has led to more families living together.

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  • #46. Vermont

    - Total multigenerational households: 5,109 (2.0% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 5,804 (2.2% of total, #5 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 259,589

    A number of demographic shifts may lead to an uptick in multigenerational families in Vermont in the coming years. There is a shortage of housing, particularly affordable housing, and an expected increase in demand for senior living, which is prompting some developers in the state to build housing complexes specifically engineered to be multigenerational.

  • #45. Minnesota

    - Total multigenerational households: 43,658 (2.0% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 45,645 (2.1% of total, #4 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 2.2 million

    Minnesota is mirroring the rest of the country in upticks of multigenerational households. A Realtor.com study released February 2020 found home seekers were attracted to the state's access to lakes, which offer multigenerational families an easy way to get out and enjoy nature together.

  • #44. Maine

    - Total multigenerational households: 11,680 (2.1% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 12,998 (2.3% of total, #7 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 556,955

    The Parenting Relationships Research Lab in Maine, which studies and performs outreach for blended families including multigenerational homes, was formed in January 2019 in response to a growing number of blended families throughout the state. In addition to research and support for family dynamics and mental health, home builders in Maine have also taken up the subject of multi-generational households. Mark Patterson, who owns a home-building outfit serving Maine and New Hampshire, told Realtor.com that people in the state are more concerned now with designing homes that those above 80 will be able to navigate, including those without stairs.

  • #43. Wyoming

    - Total multigenerational households: 4,887 (2.1% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 6,198 (2.7% of total, #10 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 230,630

    A shortage of housing in Wyoming is contributing to the rise of multigenerational housing. Among the state’s Native American population, waiting lists for alternative housing can be long—which means more people are living with multiple generations under one roof.

  • #42. Nebraska

    - Total multigenerational households: 16,047 (2.1% of total)
    - Households with grandparent(s) living with grandchildren: 18,205 (2.4% of total, #9 lowest among all states)
    - Total households: 754,063

    As COVID-19 spreads across the United States, Nebraskans have sounded the alarm over how the virus can affect multigenerational households. Doctors in the state pointed out that multigenerational families are more likely to have some members of the family still out and working, making it more likely that they will bring the virus home and infect older and more vulnerable members of their families.

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