Home Sweet Home is Still Sweet

Unable to afford to buy, unwilling to pay rising rents and underpaid compared to previous generations, more and Millennials are not only living with parent far into their twenties, they are also moving much less often than previous generations.

Millennials – whether they are living with their parents or not – are moving significantly less often than earlier generations of young adults. Among 25- to 35-year-old Millennials who were living at home in 2016, 91% reported that they resided at the same address one year earlier. This does not preclude the possibility that the young adult moved out and “boomeranged” back in the intervening year (perhaps multiple times); the data simply indicate that they lived with their parent or parents one year earlier as well, according to new research from the Pew Institute.

These long-term stays at home represent an uptick from the past. Among Gen Xers living at home in 2000, 86% reported living at that address one year earlier. Among similarly aged members of the Silent Generation living at home in 1964, 83% reported living at that address one year earlier.

Millennial home bodies are not graduates saddled with student debt. Rather they are generally less educated and their lack of a college degree may be making it difficult to find a job that pays well enough to allow them to leave the family nest.

The increased prevalence of living with mom and/or dad is more prominent among less-educated young adults. In 2016, only 10% of Millennials who had completed at least a bachelor’s degree lived at home, compared with 7% of college-educated Gen Xers who lived at home in 2000. By contrast, 20% of young adults with no more than a high school diploma lived in their parents’ home in 2016, up from 12% of Gen Xers in 2000.

A variety of factors may influence young adults’ decisions to live at home, including their lack of success in the labor market, the cost of living independently, and their debt obligations. The fact that less-educated young adults are much less likely to live independently than their more educated counterparts comports with the basic patterns of employment success in the U.S. labor market. Wages and employment have declined for less-educated young adults since the 1970s, whereas young college-educated workers have experienced improving outcomes in the job market, especially for those with advanced degrees. Young adults with higher wages are less likely to be living at home.


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