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The Big Answer


To link to this article from your blog or webpage, copy and paste the url below into your blog or homepage.

Speculations on the Future of Aging

an article in 21st Century Online Magazine by Ken Dychtwald

(our site's article review)

What remained when most social tasks were exteriorized in the 1950s was the isolated ‘nuclear family,’ held together less by the functions its members performed as a unit than by fragile psychological bonds that are all too easily snapped
What remained when most social tasks were exteriorized in the 1950s was the isolated ‘nuclear family,’ held together less by the functions its members performed as a unit than by fragile psychological bonds that are all too easily snapped

Ken Dychtwald says that by 2020 the post-WWII nuclear family will be long gone and will be replaced by the multigenerational matrix family, which is "an adult-centered, transgenerational unit bound together by friendship and choice as well as by blood and obligation." Four- and five-generation families will be common, as will unrelated “blended” families. This will give the child-care problem a shot in the arm, but, alone, won’t solve it. [This dovetails wonderfully with MC movement plans. See Why Register for an MC?.]

Registering for MC search and match
Registering for MC search and match

It is now 2017—where are all these multigenerational matrix families, Ken? Well, 51 million families in America lived in multigenerational homes (defined as households with three or more generations living under one roof) in 2013.

Multigenerational house
Multigenerational house


If Asian or Mexican immigrants come to the United States they're more likely to move in with relatives than many other ethnic groups since their cultures accept such things more readily
If Asian or Mexican immigrants come to the United States they're more likely to move in with relatives than many other ethnic groups since their cultures accept such things more readily

Multigenerational living is as old as human history, and reasserts itself whenever we face difficulties such as financial problems, childcare issues, etc. If Asian or Mexican immigrants come to the United States they're more likely to move in with relatives than many other ethnic groups since their cultures accept such things more readily. Pew explains some of this multi-generational family household resurgence as a ". . . big wave of immigration, dominated by Latin Americans and Asians, that began around 1970. Like their European counterparts from earlier centuries, these modern immigrants are far more inclined than native-born Americans to live in multi-generational family households." This is why the rates of living in multi-generational family households for various ethnicities is: Hispanics (22%), blacks (23%) and Asians (25%) and whites (13%). (Source: The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household, 2010, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/03/18/the-return-of-the-multi-generational-family-household/ )

But is multigenerational the same as matrix? Matrix is always multigenerational but the reverse is not true. Matrix requires adult-centeredness and being bound together by friendship and choice which is not true of all multigenerational families. So there's no way to know the extent of matrix-ness.

A multigenerational family
A multigenerational family

Boomerang kids were, from 2007 to 2009, the fast-growing segment of people helping to create multigenerational households. They were young adults ages 25 to 34. (Source: Life & Happiness With Laura Rowley: Dealing With Boomerang Kids, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/life-happiness-with-laura-rowley_n_1241284.html ) Boomerang kids evolved because of the economy, including rising debt from student loans and the high cost of living as well as no jobs or at least no good jobs. The number of young adults living at home, a.k.a. boomerang kids, is at an all-time record high. If they have kids, they'll be pleased to find out that most retired people in multigenerational households will be pleased to watch the kids while they work or job-hunt.

There are two types of boomerang kids: young people that refuse to grow up and want their parents to take care of them, and young people that use the opportunity to save up for college or graduate school or a home of their own, and they successfully transition from dependence to independence. (In the U.S., 44% of jobless 18 to 34 year-olds live with their parents, while nearly a quarter of those with jobs live with their parents. [Source: Boomerang kids: Nothing wrong with living at home, CNN Money, 2013, http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/13/real_estate/boomerang-kids/index.html])

(For more on the issues faced by adult children living at home, see It’s Official: The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave.)