More millennials are living with their parents, despite job market improvements. Economists and researchers can’t figure out why, but millennials know that living with your parents doesn’t have the same stigma it once did. In fact, it’s considered pretty cool if your parents love you enough to let you stick around well into your mid — or late — twenties.
A recent Pew Research study, found that 71 percent of young adults lived on their own in 2007. If you remember, that would have been just before the Great Recession. Today, that number has dwindled to 67 percent. Obviously the economy and stagnating job market for young adults had something to do with it, but the decision to stay at home isn’t all economically motivated. Today 18-34-year-olds are less likely to move out and find a place of their own than they were at the depths of the Great Recession, the study states.
Okay, so why are millennials choosing to stay at home in larger numbers now that the economy has bounced back a bit?
Some think it could be due to rising housing costs:
While that’s a good guess, it overlooks the single biggest underlying factor: young people’s attitudes on living at home have changed. Several of my friends have decided to stay home with their parents after graduating from college, and use the opportunity to focus on repaying their student loans. Sometimes I envy them. They get to hangout with their families everyday and don’t have to worry if they’re blowing rent money when purchasing a new purse or shoes.
Let face it: living at home has become the new cool.
We Like Our Parents, So Why Would We Want To Leave?
Unlike the prior generation, millennials actually enjoy their parents’ company. As it turns out, Lorelei and Rory Gilmore’s close relationship is more typical than you might think. Another Pew Study found that 85 percent of us name our parents as our best friend, rather than a peer. So why wouldn’t we want to live with our best friends as long as we could?
It’s not just young adults who don’t want to leave home–our parents don’t want us to move either. They’ve spent a significant portion of their adult lives obsessing over us. After all, we were the first generation to experience the phenomenon of helicopter parenting. After 18 years of perfecting this, its hard for parents to let their children go. Several of my friends’ parents pleaded with them to stay at home, emphasizing the financial benefits of doing so, or choking up when the topic was discussed. My own parents frequently try to lure me into visiting them more often, sometimes offering to pay for my plane ticket home. (Hey mom, dad, if you’re reading this remember: Thanksgiving is right around the corner!)
Basically, we get along with our parents and unless there’s a very compelling reason to do so, we’re not going to be so quick to leave.
Student Debt is Crushing Our Independent Spirits
Living at home isn’t viewed as “uncool,” in fact it’s often viewed as “responsible.” Because most of us have debt we’re struggling with, it makes sense to live at home and reduce your living expenses as much as possible in order to handle your financial responsibilities.
Nearly all millennials have student debt. In 2013, 70 percent of graduates financed their way through school by incurring debt. The average student loan burden is $30,000, which honestly seems very low. (Though it’s possible my perception is skewed, as many of my friends attended private colleges or law school.) How can a college grad afford to make it on their own, even if they are employed, when they have an overwhelming burden of debt?
Just like they did when we were younger, our parents are coming to the rescue. They know it’s hard for young adults to make it on our own with a mountain of debt, and they’re kindly letting us stay with them so we can handle our responsibilities. Taking advantage of our parents nest isn’t irresponsible or wrong, it’s often a very sound decision that will payoff for the rest of one’s life.
Don’t Let the Geezers Guilt You
Older people mistake young people staying at home as millennials shirking their responsibilities and prolonging their adolescence. I imagine them shaking their fists at youth, angry at the hiccups millennials have caused the economy because we’re not buying houses and furniture.
But they often just don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to buy a house when student debt is crippling you. College tuition has doubled since 2001, so it’s understandable why older people and living-at-home-naysayers think student loans are ridiculous: in their day, tuition was a fraction of the cost.
So don’t let the geezers get to you. Stay at home if you want to, focus on repaying your debt, and enjoy spending time with your family while you can.