City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment

Multigenerational Cohabitation: Implications for an Ageing Population

An ARC Discovery Project application on how and why multiple generations of adults of the same family cohabit was submitted in 2010. This application presented emerging evidence which suggests a rapid growth of this household type in Australia, and particularly in our cities. This trend mirrors those observed in some other western societies (e.g. Canada, see Gee, Mitchell and Wister 2003), with recent Australian research (Flatau et al. 2007) suggesting that this is a reflection of our changed societal norms towards families and living arrangements. Other research into this topic, however, as focussed on the economic aspects (particularly intergenerational transfers and property purchase behaviours) without considering wider social impacts and wellbeing on those who live in this household type. This project aimed to fill this gap by considering the drivers and long-term implications this household type have on older people's socio-psychological and economic situations. Whilst the application was unsuccessful, it was ranked amongst one of UNSW's unsuccessful 2010 Discovery Project applications. It was subsequently awarded a $40,000 Goldstar Award by the Vice Chancellor to initiate a pilot study and to refine the application for re-submission.

Outputs:

The pilot study is on-going, with preliminary results reported in an AHURI essay and an upcoming journal article. A refined ARC Discovery Project application was submitted in March 2011.