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Full house: Merged families coping under one roof

American households in which three or more generations are living under one roof have increased by 30% over the last decade, according to census data.

Over five million families have moved in with relatives forcing most to alter their way of living in the process.

Taking in a relative has long been a cultural tradition for many Hispanic immigrants. When her mother was left living by herself in Mexico, Marta De Anda decided the best thing to do was to move her to Sioux City in Iowa to live with Marta, her husband and their three children. It is almost family tradition to have three generations living under one roof and to have the elder helping out in the household and with the children.

But the economic downturn has been the reason that most Americans have tried to save costs by sharing a roof. When Kristi Quinn and her husband Bill ended up sharing their Dakota City house in Nebraska with their daughter and two grandchildren, they found the new living arrangement meant they had to change some of the plans they had for retirement and travel.

The BBC's Franz Strasser went to the Iowa-Nebraska border to see how the two families are handling a full house under different circumstances.

  • 30 Nov 2011
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