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Multi-generational households and COVID-19

Updated: May 6, 2020

Research published in Demographic Science from the University of Oxford and Nuffield College provided perspective on the tragedy unfolding in Italy which now has more COVID-19 deaths than any other country.

 Prior research has highlighted the vulnerability of the oldest groups and those with prior medical conditions, such as those with respiratory problems, diabetes and the immuno-compromised.  Italy indeed has the oldest population in Europe.  But this recent research further highlights the relatively high proportion of young adults who are living with parents and grandparents, and considers how the mild or asymptomatic experience of COVID-19 in the relatvely young could have led to much higher levels of exposure in these oldest groups.  Moreover, comparisons presented by Eurofound highlight that similar household patterns are found in Spain which has similarly seen very rapid increases in the number of COVID-19 confirmed infections and deaths (767 as of today).  Further research is needed to explore these relationships and consider how best to limit the further spread of the virus despite the lockdowns in these countries.

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