Millennials have started a new phenomenon, adding a modern twist to the standard list of life stages, which significantly define an individual’s contribution to the human life cycle as well as the economy. Once upon a time, couples married right out of high school, purchased their first home and started their own family all before they reached their mid 20’s. Even as times changed and the average age in which one decided to settle down and marry slowly but surely increased, young adults typically ventured off to college or left the nest at a fairly early age never returning to live in their childhood bedrooms. The rules of life seemed set in stone with the promise that if you followed every step as instructed you would achieve success and live the “American Dream.” But as we have seen with this generation of millennials, it is not that simple.
Coining the term “boomeranging”, in which young adults are returning to live with their parents, millennials are now being referred to as the “Boomerang Kids.” This new phenomenon has left many struggling to make sense of what is happening as they realize this is not a passing trend but more of a new set stage of life. It has now become expected as a young adult and as a parent that their children will live home longer. Is living home with your parents in your late 20’s a sign of failure or are we looking at what is now considered “the new normal?”
In a 2015 Census Bureau release titled “Young Adults; Then and Now”, statistics showed that 30.3% of 18-34 year olds were living with a parent. This study illustrated the characteristics of the young adult population in the US throughout 1980-2000’s. Many millennials unfortunately can’t brag of having anything that their parents did at their age, leaving many frustrated to not see many fruits from their labor. It’s not that this generation does not aspire to live independently from their parents and one day own their own home, it’s that right now they simply can’t.
As this country slowly recovers from a recession, it is the millennials that are taking the biggest hit. The life in which they thought would be granted to them by completing college and moving to the workforce has not been as promising as once thought. With mounting debt stacked against them, so are the odds of making a decent life without depending on others for financial or material resources. College graduates are starting out their lives with more debt than their salaries can affords to pay. Many are leaving college only to find themselves on the unemployment line or still working at their mediocre jobs they held during college. Studies have shown that older generations of employees are no longer leaving their jobs to get better positions, either because there are no opportunities or it is too risky to make any moves. This effects the younger adults coming into the workforce because it does not allow them to climb the job ladder. It is a terrible job market out there, which has forced millennials to attain greater skills rather than struggle for work. Many millennials are hiding from this great recession by hiding out in grad school rather than braving the slow economy. But one has to wonder, is grad school even worth the money? Or is it just buying more time?
College debt and a bad job market are not the only contributors to millennials living at home with their parents. College enrollment is starting to see a decline while young adults living at home continues to rise. There is a decline in marriages among millennials and those who are deciding to tie the knot are taking that plunge at a later age. Millennials have shown that they are focused more on themselves and their careers, therefore waiting to get married and start a family. According to the Pew Analysis, roughly only 3% of married millennials live with their parents. Numbers that low of married millennials living home with their parents could indicate that with rising housing costs many are waiting to have a partner to share the costs with. Rent costs are almost as high as having a mortgage, so it could be that millennials are being smarter with their money and taking advantage of being able to save money while living home with mom and dad.
Where there once was a stigma attached to living home with mom and dad in your late 20’s and early 30’s, that stigma doesn’t seem to apply to millennials. 61% of adults age 25-34 say that they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over the past few years. Due to this widespread phenomenon, many are satisfied with their living conditions and working on making their next big move. For the time being, Mom and Dad’s isn’t a bad place to be.