Why Do So Many Millennials Live At Home?

According to recent reports by the Pew Research Center, “the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently of their families and establishing their own households today than they were in the depths of the Great Recession,” even though the Economic Policy Institute recently published a report that stated the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is 5.6 percent, the lowest since June 2008. Now, I know several of my peers are living at home, but I had no idea that living at home was a massive sociological trend. As a Millennial myself who hasn’t lived at home since I was 18, I can’t help but wonder–why?

Based on some research, here are three reasons (there are likely many more):

1) We love our parents. The Chicago Tribune recently published a captivating take on Chicago Millennials who live at home, and why: it’s because we love the “Baby Boomer” parents who raised us! Look no farther than the examples of extra space for exercise rooms, access to furry cuddle-buddies (puppies), patios, pools, and fully-stocked fridges. Why would we not choose this life vs. a crowded, drafty studio apartment downtown? Some pay rent and some do chores, all love the amenities provided in their parents’ hard-earned-two-story-finished-basement-turned-apartment-living-space.

2) Saving money. The increase in amount of student loans we’ve taken on in the past decade is staggering, and according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 2016 “Missing Young Adult Households” study reported in this Chicago Tribune article, median salary for Millennials has only increased $700 since 2006. So living at home for free is a great way to offset those loan payments.

3) No one is getting married anymore! According to another stat from the National Association of Home Builders’ 2016 “Missing Young Adult Households” study reported in this Chicago Tribune article, “about 59 percent of people ages 25 to 34 were married in 1990, but by 2014, only 41 percent are married.” That’s an 18 percent drop in 24 years! And getting married is a big reason why people “move out,” for reasons I probably don’t need to state here.

So what does this all mean? It leaves me scratching my head because I “flew the coop” at the age of 18, when I headed off to college in Chicago, then graduate school, then a job, all in perfect sequential order. I do wince a bit when the student loan payments from my graduate school housing downtown come through every month, but living at home vs. living on my own was never a real question for me given my education / career choices (my parents live in Minnesota and I’m in Chicago, so that commute is a bit unreasonable).

Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my parents!, but I do wonder what the future holds for my generation–are all of my peers going to be rich, living in penthouse apartments on the beach in five years because they saved up nest eggs while living in mom and dad’s basement? Or will we all of a sudden start having babies and be living in cross-generational compound communities for the foreseeable future? Maybe we don’t need to worry at all–The Washington Post reports that we are all freaking out for nothing!

Featured photo credit: The American Home magazine, 1956.

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