We see a lot of millennials staying at home with their parents today. And in big chunks of the country, it has become the norm for people well into their 20’s and their 30’s to do so. But the question is why? Have housing costs become an impediment? Is student loan debt a factor? Have values on family and independence changed? Or do we simply blame the parents? There are many factors to explain why millennials still live at home with their parents and I have listed 4 major reasons why.
High Housing Costs
The increase in housing costs have become a major impediment to independence today and has detoured young people from acquiring their own homes. There’s no doubt that it has become more and more expensive to live on your own in these past years. That’s one reason why we see more roommate living situations and more people living at home with their parents. In recent years it has been reported that 26.3% of millennials are still living with their parents whereas only 15.3% lived with their parents in the year 2000, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
It’s shown that housing is less affordable today than it was some years ago, making it difficult for millennials to move out.
The median price for a new home in the U.S. jumped nearly 40 percent from $232,100 in 2008 to $323,100 last year, more than double the general price inflation rate of 17 percent over the same period. During that time, median weekly earnings for 25- to 34-year-olds only grew 19 percent from $666 in 2008 to $794 in 2018, according to federal data.
States like California, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Hawaii are consistently among the least affordable places to live and have the lowest headship rates, some of which are well below 37 percent, according to NAHB. Less-costly states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska register the highest headship rates, ranging between 48 percent and 49 percent. States with more expensive housing markets have a smaller share of 25- to 34-year-olds leading homes.
Student Loan Debt
A major factor in younger people living at home is student loan debt. A high cost put on the shoulders of college graduates, causing them to find shelter in their parents’ homes rather than their own. According to the Federal Reserve, the average student loan borrower from the class of 2017 has $39,400 in student loan debt. For those who are just out of school — ages 20 to 30 — the average monthly payment is $351 and the median $203. On top of all other living expenses — housing, transportation, utilities, health care, personal insurance, food, and all other expenditures — Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever before becoming a major barrier to home ownership in America.
We’ve seen a change in the values and habits of young people in America, and these changing values and habits over the years have aided in them staying at home longer. A report by the Urban Institute sites delayed marriage as a major impact on millennials low homeownership rate. Millennials are wedding later — and less. With marriage representing stability, it increases one’s likelihood of owning a home by 18 percentage points, the researchers found. But we’re not seeing a want for marriage from millennials.
Most millennials are capable of living outside of their parents’ house, working steady jobs and paying for their own housing. But, because their parents keep allowing them to stay home, they have no aspirations to move on to bigger and better things. The millennials who aren’t staying home to save money to be able to purchase their own home, or to pay off student loan debt, or for family reasons, are the ones that give all millennials staying at home a bad name. These situations unfairly give some millennials a bad name in terms of being lazy and too entitled to take on adult responsibility. Parents are hindering these young adults from taking on responsibility of their own lives.
Could Staying At Home Longer Be A Good Thing?
Sometimes millennials live at home because they are intent on saving money, and in this case staying with your parents longer is a great thing. A lot of young people living at home do not fit lay about or burnout stereotypes — the Census Bureau notes that only one in four is not employed or in education, and this number includes those who are caring for a child. The vast majority of millennials living at home are working or in school, actively trying to carve out a better, more independent life for themselves. Staying at home, likely rent-free, with parents might not be glamorous and may be frowned upon, but it’s cheaper than spending thousands of dollars in housing costs.