Around the world (and throughout history) multigenerational families living under one roof has been the norm, not the exception. Currently, one in six Americans lives in a multigenerational household.
Of course, many of these are made up of families that have taken in elder relatives in order to care for them in their later years. That being said, the trend of young people moving in with their parents is one that is growing in the millennial generation. A study from Simply Self Storage reports that 9% of people over 18 years old live with their parents and about 65% of those are under the age of 35.
That is a number that has grown precipitously over the last 40 years. One surprising metric that has not been seen in previous recent generations shows that more Millennials (loosely defined here as those born between 1982 and 2000) now live with their parents rather than with a spouse.
There’s a sociological paper in there somewhere, but mainly this has to do with the generation reaching life milestones, like marriage and having children, later than previous generations. Also, there are more unmarried couples living together, so that skews the metric a bit.
Why This is Happening
After the recession of 2008, the trend of people coming to live with their parents was characterized as the “Boomerang Generation”, a phenomenon that was generally blamed on the economic downturn. People under 35 would generally spend some time on their own, only to boomerang back home when financial burdens became unbearable.
However, a Pew Research Center study shows that though the economy has stabilized and unemployment gone down significantly in recent years for this generation the percentage living at home has not decreased.
There are many possible reasons for this. Perhaps the stigma that might have been attached to living at home with parents was no longer attached when so many peers had done it successfully (from a financial perspective) in recent more difficult years.
Perhaps the numbers which show recovery in employment for young people do not take into account lower earnings potential or the lack of full-time employment that has led many millennials to work as part of the precarious “gig economy”.
There is also the question of student loan debt, which according to Debt.com has, “soared from $260 billion in 2004 to $1.4 trillion in 2017– and average debt jumped from $18,650 to $38,000 over that same period”.
The Benefits of Living With Your Parents
Financially, It can be a win-win for young people and their parents to live together.
With the cost of living increasing and wage rates remaining stagnant for many (read: the young and old), the added income that a young person can bring in helps stabilize the home.
At the same time, a younger person has the ability to save money or even pay off loans that otherwise might be burdensome for them for years to come. Or they might be able to purchase real estate. Something that would not have been possible otherwise.
Careerwise, it gives millennials the ability to be more flexible and find paths that are suitable. With the stability of a roof over their heads, those just out of college can take entry-level positions, take internships in desirable industries or even change jobs without as much worry.
The Negatives of Moving Back In With Your Parents
A lack of independence is the largest complaint of those that have moved back in, something that comes from being once again under the auspices of parental supervision.
The phenomenon of FOMO (fear of missing out) already drives modern social anxiety, and living with parents can exacerbate this immensely. For many , t means living away from a network that was built with friends in college. This can also mean missing things like career meetups that could hinder advancement.
A feeling of languishing is certainly one that can accompany moving back in. It is easy to fall into old habits that can dampen motivation.
How to Come Out on Top
According to U.S. News money blogger Gary Foreman, “Parents supply a pathway, not a destination.” It is crucial to look at this time as temporary with a specific endpoint.
Establishing guidelines is the most important factor in the new relationship between parent and children dealing with each other as adults under the same roof.
Expectations of parents have to be tempered to realize that their child is independent. Conversely, children have to realize that there are responsibilities of adulthood, like cleaning and buying groceries, that will we expected of them. Considerations like privacy, use of things like television, cars, and computers, and chores like yard work need to be part of a significant conversation.
While there are many financial positives and some emotional negatives for most adult children who are living with their parents, the trend seems to demonstrate that more and more millennials are willing to take on the difficulties of the situation for the sake of a more financially stable future.