It’s easy to forget that once, multigenerational living was the rule, not the exception. Post-recession, do we find ourselves moving back home?

Nqobile moved back into his parents’ home for six months after college while he searched for a job. When Sara’s 90-year-old dad leaves physical-therapy rehab in the next few weeks, he’ll return to his daughter’s house, where he has been living with her and her children.

High unemployment and housing foreclosures of the recession means that less people conform to the white picket fence scenario: children grow up, move out, go to college, get a job… There is a breakdown in any set mentality about the way in which people SHOULD live their lives, with more emphasis on how they COULD. When times are dire, people seek the easiest, most convenient lifestyle solutions, and this often includes moving back in with the family.

It’s coming from all directions. More young adults moving back home, more elderly moving in with middle-age children and more middle-aged children moving with their elderly parents. Fueled by demographic and cultural shifts such as the rising number of immigrants and the rising average age of young-adult marriages, this trend has worldwide impact.

Co-residence with family remains a norm and a widely preferred option for the majority of South Africa’s population. It is pertinent to point out that South Africa has a multi-ethnic society, and that considerable cultural and socio-economic diversity exists between the groups. However, notable changes are evident, and multi-generational households are steadily becoming a cross-culture trend.

There are countless business and creative opportunities when many generations live under one roof. Even a short stay with the family may influence your tastes and brand preferences.

Nintendo, for example, set out with a deliberate strategy with its DS handheld and Wii console to push across-the-ages and particularly to grandparents with games such as Brain Age and Wii bowling. And Toys ‘R’ Us has given out 20% off coupons to grandparents, acknowledging the statistic that grandparents buy one in four toys, four of every 10 children’s books, and one of every five video games. Disney crafts everything from movies such as the “Toy Story” trilogy to theme-park experiences to cruise-line travel with a deliberate product and marketing strategy to appealing to all generations of a family.