City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment

Multi-Generation Households in Australian Cities

Recent changes in Australian living arrangements and household compositions have seen significant and sustained numbers of adult offspring continuing to reside in the parental home. Such changes reflect important shifts in societal norms and conceptualisations of home and family in western societies. This trend towards multigenerational cohabitation has been especially pronounced in our major cities, with further complexities arising when one considers that many western societies (including Australia) are experiencing ageing populations as these substantial changes in our family structures continue to transpire. This essay will draw on recent Census data quantifying the number of multi-generational households, consider the drivers of cohabitation amongst adults of different generations, and raise questions about its effects on psychological, economic and social wellbeing of the cohabiting families.