Future of Family/Living together

Meet the families of 2030: the factors shaping future generations

– Dragon Rouge (November 20th, 2013)

Exploring the changing dynamics of the family provides a fascinating context for understanding an individuals’ choices. We’ve spent the last four months identifying the influencing factors that will shape the family of the future.

The following factors are creating a diversity of family units that are not necessarily defined by marriage or blood-ties and are unlikely to fit into any of today’s consumer segmentations.

Tandem Tribes: two single parent families sharing one family home

Each with their own private space within the house, the Tandem Tribes come together to share living and kitchen/dining space. The single parents have a partnership of convenience, living a lifestyle that wouldn’t be possible alone, which provides a positive, flexible environment for bringing up children.

Modular Movers: nomadic professionals living in convenient, high-service, low-ownership homes

Our single person family, Modular Movers are nomadic. Living in flexible spaces around the world, they don’t want baggage or clutter as they move from Sao Paulo to New York to Bangalore whenever they need to. Home is more like a hotel. They crave practicality – location and convenience are more important than a feeling of home sweet home

Silver Linings: the 70 years+ generation

The Silver Linings are determined to grow old positively. They want to have a laid-back lifestyle with a genuine interaction between generations. They are happy to trade-in previous living arrangements for a worry-free lifestyle that means more stability and simplicity.

Ruralites: hyper-connected families living in rural communities.

The Ruralites are entrepreneurial with comfortable, hyper-efficient and tech-orientated homes. They are close to self-sufficiency in food production and make full use of all available resources, including the production of energy, which ensures they make money from energy rather than paying money for it. Their 3D printer keeps the home working, producing replacement parts for all appliances.

Multi-gens: Multiple generations living under one roof

Their homes may be crowded, but these families depend on support from one another, enabling each family member to pursue their own goals and lead independent lives. Each person pitches in and does their bit so life runs smoothly. These families make use of services like cloud-based family hubs, which divide up tasks and responsibilities between all family members. In some ways they run more like an efficient business than a classic family.

Reproduced by permission of Dragon Rouge
copyright (c) 2013, Dragon Rouge, Meet the families of 2030

Our perspective

The segmentation of family types in future will be very different from what we have today. Higher rates of female participation in the labour market, higher divorce rates, more single parents, rising and longer enrolment in education, growing numbers of elderly, higher numbers of foreigners, ethnic diversity will lead to emergence of multitude of family structures.

The family size and structure in future will be determined more by income and choice and less by culture. A rise in the number of single parent family will lead to creation of housing areas or communities suitable for their needs.

At the same time, there will also be a re-emergence of joint families with two or three generations living together or even families not bound by filial ties cohabitating under one roof. We may increasingly see networks of loosely connected family members from different marriages, partnerships and generations emerging, who devise fresh approaches to cohesion and solidarity. The cohabitation will result from convenience, sharing similar lifestyles or values.

Growing, better-integrated ethnic communities may help to instil their family values into mainstream society. And medical progress, like remote health monitoring, may help alleviate the strains on families of caring for elderly dependants.

Family and household structures likely to evolve in the future will have important consequences for forward planning in a wide range of policy areas, including child care, education, housing, elderly care, and even urban planning.

Home will cease to be the primary wealth even for the middle class but will be more about personal living spaces and would be flexible depending on the needs of the inhabitants and their lifestyles.

To summarise, we should expect family demands and pressure to reduce at the physical, social and emotional level and family size to vary from a single adult to a dozen or more people living under a single roof.

Gazing through the crystal ball

  1. A natural outcome of post-marriage society is new forms of family. It’ll be important that socio-cultural biases against changes in forms of family are not fuelled by parents beyond a point and it should be a topic of open discussion.
  2. Professional choices and imperatives will be an important driver of experimentations with family forms; we must also not forget that we all will have longer professional engagement (well beyond the usual 60 years of superannuation age) and people will invent social structures that support longer professional lives
  3. Virtual family options will also increase and support individual members better in the pursuit of better personal and professional lives.

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