Multi-Generational Living: Strategies for Addressing Affordable Housing?

It is becoming increasingly common for multiple generations to live under one roof. Canadian Press/Cole Burston

for the past 20 years, Canadian house prices are rising at twice the rate of income growthAs a result, more and more Canadian households are grappling with housing affordability.

today, 10% of Canadian households spend at least 30% of their pre-tax income on housing..

at the same time, The proportion of multigenerational households also increased by 45%than any other family lifestyleMost of these Multigenerational household with grandparents and young children.

The simultaneous rise in home prices and the proportion of multigenerational households raises questions such as: First, is living with an aging parent a strategy young families adopt to reduce housing vulnerabilities? Second, who benefits most from living with grandparents?

our Studies have addressed these questions We then explored whether moving in with grandparents could be a solution to affordable housing.

Living with grandparents may provide a way for young families to lower housing costs, reduce housing vulnerability, and free up resources for food, health care, and education.

By living with grandparents, young families can avoid many of the negative consequences associated with housing vulnerabilities. poor academic performance, behavioral problems When poor physical condition.

unequal distribution of benefits

The benefits of living in multigenerational households are unevenly distributed. Children with lower-income mothers were found to benefit more from living with grandparents than children with higher-income mothers. Similarly, children raised in single-parent households benefited more from living with grandparents than those raised in two-parent households.

Conversely, children with grandparents and higher incomes benefited more from living with their grandparents.And those who lived with their grandmothers benefited more than those who lived with their grandfathers alone. Grandmothers typically provide more financial and emotional support to their adult children and grandchildren than grandfathers do..

Our findings suggest that multigenerational living typically involves grandparents providing housing assistance, transfer material resources to adult childrenThis means that younger families generally benefit more financially from this living situation than older parents.

Low-income grandparents are an exception. Living with adult children provides financial support, emotional support, and care, and may benefit more from multigenerational living than younger families.

A grandmother is being hugged by her granddaughter.
Children living with grandmothers benefited more than those living with grandfathers.
(Ekaterina Shakharova/Unsplash)

Adverse effects of multi-generational life

However, the benefits of multigenerational living can come at the expense of ample space and privacy.

Living in overcrowded housing is associated with poorer health, Declining relationship quality When more stress for all household members. again, Negative impact on academic performance and increased behavioral problems in children.

Multigenerational living can also negatively impact the financial well-being of grandparents.some elderly people Pay for your adult child’s expenses and your own expensesThis can strain their finances or require them to delay retirement.

policy implications

some families and the elderly prefer live in a multi-generational household.But for others, a shortage of affordable housing may be creating the situation. Power They move in with their aging parents.

So what can the government do to prevent some families from being forced into multigenerational households?

The Canadian government must increase housing supply. Rising interest rates may temporarily reduce pressure on the housing market as demand decreases. but, It could also exacerbate housing shortages and affordability crises in the long run through the cancellation of housing projects..

According to the Mortgage and Housing Authority of Canada, Canada needs 3.5 million new homes to reach affordability.

Governments should also produce estimates of unmet housing demand that more than project the amount of housing shortages. must be predicted. amount When type Unmet demand for housing For example, a shortage of large housing units may be part of the reason why multigenerational households are at higher risk of living in overcrowded housing.

Overall, our research reveals that the housing affordability crisis is having far-reaching implications for Canadian society.It imposes constraints that change the structure and composition of Canadian families. Many families are also forced to absorb the impact of the social problem of a lack of affordable housing.


Kate Choi is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Sagi Ramaj receives PhD funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Multi-Generational Living: Strategies for Addressing Affordable Housing?

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