The truth about the American family

The extended American family is obsolete, right?

In a study that should put this persistent but baseless myth to rest, the Pew Research Center has found that Americans are nearly as likely to live in a multigenerational household today as they were in 1950.

In 2014, almost 61 million people, or 19 percent of the population, lived in a household that included grandparents and grandchildren or at least two generations of adults, according to Pew. In 1950, that share was 21 percent.

In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, multigenerational homes fell out of favor in the United States, and by 1980 only 12 percent of the population was in one.

But ever since, a larger and larger share of Americans has been opting for multigenerational living, which Pew researchers attribute partly to the increasing diversity of the country.

“The Asian and Hispanic populations overall are growing more rapidly than the white population, and those groups are more likely than whites to live in multigenerational family households.”

However, the share of white people living in multigenerational homes is also climbing, the Pew study notes.

Some families move in together during tough economic times and spread out again when things get better. But the Pew study found that even since the end of the Great Recession, the popularity of multigenerational households has kept rising.