A recent Pew Research study found that a record 57 million Americans – over 18% of the U.S. population – live in multigenerational households. In fact, nearly one fourth of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 do so, and 37% are comprised of racial and ethnic minorities.
Multigenerational households are a prime example of two major trends in the U.S. consumer marketplace – the differing lifestage trajectories of Millennials and the steady growth of the multicultural population. As the Great Recession sent young adults back to their parents, decisions about marriage, employment and starting a family were put on hold. The end result is a generation with markedly different attitudes toward traditional lifestage events and an evolving, more expansive definition of family. Meanwhile, the growing multicultural U.S. population has continued to drive the long-term shift in multigenerational households since the 1980s, as this type of living arrangement is more commonplace among multicultural consumers. The confluence of these trends requires a different approach for marketers seeking to connect with today’s consumers. New households mean new needs, new desires and new values – all of which are likely to grow in importance as the nation moves toward a majority-minority population.