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More Than A Third Of Empty Nesters Making Room for Grown Children, Aging Parents

By Michele Dawson | October 19, 2012

While many Baby Boomers may look forward to (or perhaps dread) the empty nest that comes when all the  kids are out of the house, an increasing number of adults are welcoming their homes to grown children returning home and aging parents.

Not all baby boomers are happy to boot out the kids

PulteGroup, one of the country’s largest homebuilding companies, recently conducted surveys of two groups.

The first group involved parents of kids aged 16 to 30. The other group consisted of adults with aging parents who are still alive.

The first survey revealed that 14 percent of adults already have a “boomerang” child living with them. Another 31 percent expect a child to return home in the near future. When it comes to aging parents, 15 percent of the adults said they already have aging parents living with them and another 32 percent said they expect their parents to be moving in with them in the near future.

As a result, many of these adults — 72 percent of those living with aging parents and 49 percent living with adult children — plan to renovate or buy a new home to accommodate their new roommates.

"Adjusting to more family members in your home can be a challenge," said Scott Thomas, national director of product development for PulteGroup.  "Offering flexibility is key, as well as options such as dual master suites to larger great rooms, it's important that homebuilders understand how to best meet the demand of multi-generational households."

Separate living spaces like mother-in-law suites, additional bathrooms and larger great rooms are some of the features being eyed. Another popular feature: dual master bedrooms with one upstairs and one downstairs.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that about 4.4 million U.S. homes had three generations or more living under one roof in 2010 — a 15 percent jump over 2008.

The National Association of Home Builders reported that in 2010 Hawaii had the highest percentage of adults living with grown children and/or aging parents, accounting for 8.8 percent of all of these types of households across the U.S. Land scarcity, high real estate costs, and economic constrains mean that on average Hawaiians are the Americans most likely to be living with elderly relatives.


Image courtesy of Thinkpanama via

Michele Dawson is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She spent seven years as a newspaper reporter and has written for various magazines and web sites specializing in real estate and home improvement, including Realty Times, SmartHomeowner, California Builder, and the Sacramento Business Journal.
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