For most teenagers finishing their years at high school, top of mind is moving out of home – getting their own place, a new sense of freedom and independence, and no longer under the attentive eyes of mom and dad. And while it may continue to be the dream, as the cost of housing continues to climb in Toronto, it’s not always continuing to be the reality. In fact, there’s a new trend emerging across Canada’s biggest cities: multi-generational living.
Defined as households where at least three generations of a family are living under the same roof, what once was a scarce occurrence has now nearly doubled, with almost 2.2 million people living in a multi-generational household. This housing arrangement acts to not only function as a buffer for millennials as they seek to launch independently into their own housing options, but also as a viable and safe option for seniors, one of the fastest growing age cohorts in Canada.
The highest proportion of young adults who are living with their parents is in Ontario. Experts believe this is likely due to a combination of economic realities, such as higher living costs and greater difficulty finding employment, as well as changes in cultural composition and the increasing presence of mixed cultures within families. They also note however, that single-person households became the most common type of household in 2016, speaking to the rise in working women and the aging population.
With the contrasting statistics, it is clearly not a case of individuals being unwilling or uninterested in moving out on their own. With each new household that is occupied independently, the availability for other small family dwellings decreases, influencing families to instead maintain ties and live under the same roof. At the same time, with housing prices presenting issues of affordability, it is the old and young cohort which struggle the most to meet the price demands, and as such, are at the root of forming this new multi-generational trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down.