To deal with the hard times that hit five years ago, families have moved together in new ways.

The Great Recession slammed all age groups, crushing career dreams of young people, squeezing retirement savings from middle-aged families and crippling senior citizens who thought they could get by on their own. As a result, three generations are living under one roof.

"The reality is we have a lot more complex household structures today than we did a few years ago" said James Hughes, an economist at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers, New Brunswick.

Hughes said between 2007 and 2009, the total number of people living in multi-generational homes shot up more than 10% to 51 million.

"New Jersey is at the leading edge of this trend because there are a lot more foreign born families here, at least 1 in 5 and foreign families tend to live under one roof a lot more than U.S. born families."

Sharing that space can be a challenge, said Hughes.

"You have younger children, their parents and grandparents all figuring out how to live together peacefully and that can be difficult for many families."

But, in the end its all about saving money.

"Especially for students that just graduated college in New Jersey, they have high student debt and many of them can't afford to live on their own."

Hughes said it will be a trend that will stick around for at least the next few years.

The larger household sizes are also causing builders to take notice. Hughes said some are redesigning floor plans adding extra guest suites and more kitchen space.