More than half a million homes in Britain now host at least three generations of the same family – a 7.6 per cent increase since 2005 (1).
A new study from Lloyds TSB insurance reveals that a growing number of middle-aged Britons are supporting both adult children and parents under the same roof, with numbers expected to rise by more than 56,000 over the next decade (2).
This huge rise in ‘multi-generational’ living is the legacy of social and economic factors, as dependent children wait for longer to get on the housing ladder and increasingly life expectancy leads more over-60s to turn to their children for care and companionship (3).
Future increases are likely to be fuelled by a tougher economic climate as growing numbers of under-30s return to the family home to save money, or delay house purchases as they wait for the economy to pick-up (4).
The study reveals the significant pressures placed on relatives that live communally, but also shows that it can have an extremely positive effect on family cohesion.
When questioned, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of multi-generational dwellers say that they were forced into it by circumstances, but four in five (77 per cent) say that they are happy with the situation and even more (83 per cent) feel it has brought their family closer together.
Some of the less desirable effects are include increasing family arguments (68 per cent) and a lack of privacy (79 per cent).
Insurance figures also suggest that accident rates are much higher multi-generational homes, because dwellings are more crowded and the young and old are more accident prone than the middle-aged (5).
A list of the areas with the highest level of ‘multi-generational living’ reveals a particular prevalence in Asian communities (6), and the inner city and areas that have struggled economically - the top twenty names includes Brent, Bradford, Luton and Merthyr Tydfil.
Commenting on the report, Lloyds TSB Insurance spokesperson Phil Loney said:
“As the country’s leading home insurance provider, it’s important for us to conduct research into future trends in living as it helps us to understand the risks that our customers face.
“This report shows that more and more middle-aged people are taking on the care of older family members and supporting children who are going through tough times.
“Those preparing to take on such care and support for family members can gain useful advice from Denise Robertson’s guide to ‘Extending Without Tears’ available now at www.insurance.lloydstsb.com.”
Research was commissioned by Lloyds TSB Insurance plc and conducted by FDS Research between in January – March 2009.
The research programme combined original research from a nationally representative survey of 500 people living with at least three generations of the same family, conducted by PureProfile, using an online sample between January 18th and 26th 2009, with data from the 3000ft trends base, including analysis of the Census, the British Household Panel Study, and the General Household Survey.