Cash strapped Aussie families return to Waltons-era lifestyle

Sunday, August 21, 2011
By Paul Martin

Jackie Sinnerton
August 20, 2011

A growing number of Australian households have three and even four generations under the same roof due to financial pressures, natural disasters, aged-care limitations, offspring staying at home longer and high childcare costs.

According to futurist Mark McCrindle, by 2020 we will flashback a century and there will be a return to the multi-generational household like the Waltons family, made famous in the smash hit television series of the ’70s and ’80s.

The award-winning series was set in the time of the Great Depression from 1929 when money was tight. Central character John-Boy lived with his many brothers and sisters, mother and father and grandparents. The world was held spellbound by the values, characters and warmth of this fictional tight-knit family unit. According to McCrindle nearly 1 in 4 people aged 20-34 continue to live in the parental home.

By 2020 there will be more 65 year olds than one year olds in Australia putting a strain on aged care.

Social analyst David Chalke believes there are many benefits to generations coming together when times are tough.

“There will be more multi-generational households in the future but it’s not all rosy. After a year of a big family sharing the same bathroom and struggling for privacy, cracks can form,” Mr Chalke.

“I don’t think we will ever revert back to the days of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie Bucket lives with his poverty-stricken parents and both sets of grandparents, who share one double bed.

“I’d like to hope we have moved on from there.”

And in adversity, the security of family becomes more critical.

The Rest…HERE

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