The Grundy family seemed to be headed down the conventional path followed by American families: Daughter goes to college, graduates, gets a job and her own apartment.
Then something happened.
“She lost her job,” Vel Grundy says about daughter Monika, 25. “She kept looking and got very, very discouraged. She moved back home.”
Grown children returning home. Brothers and sisters moving in together. Families taking in grandparents. Friends living in the basement.
Fueled by the dismal economy and high unemployment, more Americans — friends and families — are doubling up.
From 2005 to 2009, family households added about 3.8 million extended family members, from adult siblings and in-laws to cousins and nephews. Extended family members now make up 8.2% of family households, up from 6.9% in 2005, according to Census data out this week.
“Clearly, a big part of that is the economic recession and housing costs,” says Stephanie Coontz, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-profit research association. “We’re seeing a shift away from the 1950s and 1960s mentality against extended families,” when “modern” women did not take in aging parents for fear of hurting their marriage.
There are also signs of a shift from family households. For the first time in more than a century, more than half of people aged 25 to 34 have never been married.
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