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Why do we live with people and what are the benefits?  

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Humans are social creatures! While some people have lived in very isolated contexts, a life without human contact is not mentally healthy. Socialization and living with others is really essential to human survival. 

As infants and children, we rely on our parents and family to take care of us. Because human babies are born so altricial (under-developed), it takes many years of active care and teaching before we can perform basic tasks for ourselves. Much of our social and cultural learning also takes place in the context of a family unit. Living with our families as children enables this vital learning process.

Our dependency on social human contact doesn't go away once we reach maturity, though. Socialization and relationships are an integral part of human life. In fact, we have evolved in such a way that pleasure hormones are released during positive social interaction. In this way, socialization is positively reinforced by our own biology. Beyond the physiological benefits, sharing a living space can help decrease some of the stresses of life. Sharing the costs of rent, utilities, and food eases the financial burden placed on just one person and fosters a sense of security and community. It also gives people the opportunity to spend free time with those closest to them.

Just as in childhood, in old age some of our physical and mental capacities become limited. Households and communities can fulfill the vital task of caring for the elderly and reap the benefits of their experiences through socialization. 

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