A Guide to Different Types of Living Arrangements

a street with houses on the side

Living arrangements refer to more than just the type of building you occupy. They also refer to your household’s composition. Whether you’re related to the people you live with also determines what type of living arrangements you have.

Some people maintain the same type of living arrangements they’ve known since childhood. Others may change their living arrangements multiple times during their lives. Additionally, some people alternate between different living arrangements throughout the year, particularly if they’re retired. Let’s examine various living arrangements in closer detail.

Single-Family Homes


When your immediate family lives in a detached home and does not share space with others, you occupy a single-family home. In addition to the millions who own single-family homes, over 40 million people in the United States rented single-family houses in 2019, making this a common housing option.

Multi-Family Homes


Individuals and families may live in a multi-family home. These homes include duplexes and triplexes. In multi-family homes, a house is divided into separate units. Individuals or families rent these units. Multi family homes contain no more than four units or apartments. One of the reasons people choose multi-family properties is to reduce their housing costs because it’s usually less expensive to rent a unit in a multi-family property than renting a single-family home. Individuals may also purchase a multi-family property as a real estate investment, living in one unit while generating revenue by renting the other units in the property.

Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks


RVs include motorhomes and trailers people occupy. Some people use their RV for accommodations while on vacation. Owning a motorhome makes it easy to prepare for a long or short drive to destinations throughout the country. It lets you pack plenty of your belongings and conserve costs by making meals in your RV kitchen while en route to a premier RV park. RV parks include plenty of amenities, including clean restrooms where you can shower during your stay. Connecting to full hookups ensures you can use electricity to run appliances and charge your computers and smartphones. Many RV parks also supply free Wi-Fi, making it easy to stay connected from any location.

Many retirees enjoy splitting their time between a family home and their RV. Snowbirds include retired Americans living in northern states and retired Canadians who spend several months each year living at RV parks. Living in an RV also simplifies their lives, and many RV sites offer social activities and recreational venues guests use during their stay. Both retirees and people who aren’t retired also opt to live in an RV year-round.

Multi-Generation Homes


Multi-generation homes enable multiple generations of the same family to occupy the same house. For example, a married couple starting a family may invest in a house with two master suites. One spouse’s parents would then move into the family, allowing three generations to cohabit the house. Multiple generations from the same family can also cohabit homes without multiple master suites.

Condominiums and Apartments


Condos and apartments are similar to multi-family homes, but they’re in buildings with more than four separate units. Individuals may buy a condo or rent an apartment. These dwellings vary in size and style. Some condominiums and apartment buildings provide occupants with access to a private dog park, picnic tables, and fitness facilities. It’s also common for these properties to include a playground and provide building maintenance staff with tasks such as shoveling snow or cleaning hallway and entrance floors.



Roommate scenarios apply to individuals who rent an apartment, duplex, triplex or detached home with other individuals who aren’t members of their family. It’s common for individuals to reside with roommates when they attend college or first move out from their family home because it’s more affordable than living alone.

There are multiple types of living arrangements people can consider. Some people change living arrangements during their lifetime based on their needs or interests.