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Why Your Child Will Likely Live at Home With You Until They’re 35

Topics: Current Events

The Great Recession had an impact on every age group, but there is no doubt that it caused specific challenges for the youngest generation in the workforce, the millennials. After graduating with the highest student loan debt in history, millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) entered the labor market during a time of economic crisis.

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Now, as the dust begins to settle on the recession, and the economy starts to bounce back, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the impact the recession had on millennials during this formative professional and financial stage of their lives will be felt for years, maybe even decades, to come. And, it will impact not just the millennials themselves, but also the folks who are helping to see them through. Let’s take a closer look at the economic reality facing millennials today and how it’s likely to impact them, and their parents, in the future.

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1. The number of young adults living at home with their parents is as high as it was in the 1940s.

First, let’s start with some facts: a really high percentage of millennials are living at home with their parents. It’s interesting to note that 18- to 34-year-olds are even less likely to be living on their own now than they were when the Great Recession hit, according to new analysis from Pew Research Center. The number of adults under the age of 35 that live at home is up from 42.2 million in 2007, to 42.7 million during the first third of 2015. These numbers mark a peak for young women in particular: 36.4 percent of women aged 18 to 34 lived with their parents in 2014, which topped the previous record of 1940, when the figure was 36.2 percent. Young men (who have always remained at home more than young women) are staying at home less than they did in 1940 (when 47.5 percent did so). Still, 42.8 percent of young adult males live at home with their families.

We’d expect to see these figures beginning to change as the recession fades into the backdrop of the past, but so far that hasn’t happened.

“Some of what’s happening is probably economics, because the great recession really hit young adults hard,” Dr. Richard Fry, the Pew Research center economist who analyzed the data for this study, told The New York Times. “But I’m still struggling with the economic explanation, since the labor market for young adults has improved in the last five years, and yet the percentage living with their family is still going up. It seems to be somewhat decoupled from economics.”

2. Living with parents has been normalized.

With about 40 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds still living at home with mom and/or dad, it’s pretty clear to see that the decision to remain with family for a time has become at least somewhat normalized. Perhaps that is encouraging these arrangements to persist.

“I don’t have any research to back it up, but one does hear that social acceptance of living with your parents has increased,” said Dr. Fry.

Millennials are also getting married later in life than young people have previously, and they are shouldering a tremendous amount of student loan debt. Staying at home allows them the opportunity to save up a bit before embarking on a more independent stage of life.

3. Millennials were shaken by the recession and have turned into a generation of savers.

Much like the generation who grew up during the Great Depression, millennials were deeply impacted by the economic crisis of their youth. The collapse of the housing market in particular has made them less anxious to buy a home than past generations. Saving as much as possible before breaking out on their own sounds a lot better to millennials who are trying to settle student loans before taking on mortgages. In the long run, they have the right idea. But, some worry that millennials’ approach could hurt the economy in general.

“We need the millennials to start leaving their parents’ homes and start out on their own for the housing market to normalize,” said chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, Mark Zandi, in a separate New York Times article. “This is going to be a problem if it continues.”

4. It’s just the only way to get ahead these days…

The reasons young people under the age of 35 are living at home at a rate not seen in almost a century is simply because it’s basically the only way to get ahead these days. Millennials needed college educations to secure good employment opportunities, and so they got them – they are the most educated generation in history. But, they also have more student loan debt than any generation has ever had to shoulder.

To top that off, they graduated during the worst recession in decades. Unemployment for young people (ages 16 to 24) was 15.5 percent in 2013. All of these factors delayed millennials’ entry into the housing market, and it shouldn’t surprise us. Times are tough. Staying at home with parents until their mid-30s or so might be millennials’ best bet for grabbing a piece of that American dream at some point. But, their late start will certainly have a long-term impact on them, their parents, and the economy in general.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you live at home with your parents? Or, do your children live at home with you? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Marcus
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Marcus

This entire article seemed like a weak, whiny cop-out. If you’re living at home at 30, it should only be for one of three reasons. You’re caring for a sick family member, you’re mentally or physically unable to live alone, or you just got out of prison and are trying to get back on your feet. Stop with the “millennials have too much student loan debt to move out” crap. STOP TAKING OUT CRAZY LOANS FOR SCHOOl! The line “Millennials needed college educations to secure good employment opportunities” is just a flat-out myth that’s been shoved down our throats for… Read more »

Pat
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Pat

In all of these articles about living at home now vs. the 1920s, 30s, 40s etc; people fail to analyze the shifts in the US. I believe 20th c. Catholic immigration to the US had a drastic effect on American culture. Prior to the 50s, there were Catholic communities but they were marginal. Protestants (typical English, German, etc) view work and independence as virtues; so a Protestant household will likely kick out their children at 18. Catholics value family and leisure, so the parents will encourage their children to be less independent; consider the parents well-being over their own; live… Read more »

Mike
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Mike

Article sounds like a cop out to me. I have several friends, college educated and some not, that have worked hard and own their own homes, or are renting. I also have a few that are in their 30s, making 70k a year and living with mom and dad, so he can afford a 500k house. The sense of entitlement has made me tell him to screw off. I moved out late, but because I didn’t get my things in order. Im now 33 and own my own home and i have two vehicles in the driveway. Life is good.

MrRedMan
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MrRedMan

The upward trend of millennials staying at home is due to one word: ENTITLEMENT. It is not the economy. Too many 20 somethings with useless college degrees that qualify them for nothing, no skills that enable them to work with their hands, and no desire to live in an apartment with no furniture besides a bed and a fridge for a while until they save some money (like my parents did). “Most educated generation in history” – bull. The highest percentage with college degrees, yes. But “educated” ? I beg to differ. They have degrees that they cannot market. They… Read more »

Mary
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Mary

I agree with some of that. Parents have spoiled the kids in different ways. I remember when my parents generation tossed the kids out at 18. Good luck : ) The young men got small student loans that were more easily paid off. But remember, back then we had more manufacturing and there was no ‘Free Trade’. The girls, yes, even in the 1970’s were expected by parents to marry. Female formative years spent watching Father Knows Best, Donna Reed Show, Leave it to Beaver… Brady Bunch. No Mary Tyler Moore role models there. We only had one or two… Read more »

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