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What percent of young adult live with their parents?

Back in the 1940s we had WWII. Today we have...err...our federal government kicking ass? Sorry, I meant "kicking people's ass".

Nearly Half of All Young Adults Live With Mom and Dad — and They Like It

The share of people in the US ages 18 to 29 who are living with family is at roughly the same level as in the 1940s.

By Paulina Cachero and Claire Ballentine, Bloomberg News

September 20, 2023

Nearly half of all young adults are living with their parents — and they’re not ashamed to say it.

Moving out and living on your own is often seen as a marker of adulthood. But dealt an onerous set of cards — including pandemic lockdowns, decades-high inflation, soaring student debt levels and a shaky job market — young people today are increasingly staying put. What’s more, it’s no longer seen as a sign of individual failure.

Almost 90% of surveyed Americans say people shouldn’t be judged for moving back home, according to Harris Poll in an exclusive survey for Bloomberg News. It’s seen as a pragmatic way to get ahead, the survey of 4,106 adults in August showed.

“We're in an economy where it's harder to live independently,” said Carol Sigelman, professor of social psychology at George Washington University. “Adults recognize that it’s tough these days.”

Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 drove the share of young adults living with parents or grandparents to nearly 50%, a record high. These days, about 23 million, or 45%, of all Americans ages 18 to 29 are living with family, roughly the same level as the 1940s, a time when women were more likely to remain at home until marriage and men too were lingering on family farms in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

For many, the American Dream is more like an American illusion, with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed saying younger people are stuck navigating a broken economic situation that prevents them from being financially successful.

Millennials who graduated into the 2008 financial crisis had also questioned their ability to be independent, with many temporarily living with their parents before getting back on track. The majority of millennials are now homeowners themselves. But for Gen Z, it’s unclear if they too are experiencing a delayed milestone or if a broader swath of the generation is getting left behind.

A trend toward financial nihilism is also impacting the way younger generations work, invest, spend, and choose to live, said Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics. Look no further than the wave of young people saying no to college, quiet quitting, and accepting that living at home with mom and dad is the new normal.

On TikTok, young people unabashedly share videos of working remotely in childhood bedrooms or eating dinner at home with their parents. That includes a highly paid worker in tech attempting to get ahead, a college grad playing catchup after Covid-19 lockdowns set her career back, a mid-career professional tired of climbing the corporate ladder and more.

The following are their stories.

Burnt Out

Naomi Alvarado felt she did everything right. She went to the University of Texas at Arlington and majored in business management, a decent-paying field. She interned, started her career and moved for a better job opportunity. And yet, at 27, she finds herself in between jobs, living with her parents in El Paso, Texas.

“People my age were being fed this dream that you could go to college, get a job in corporate America and buy a house. That dream is unattainable,” she said.

Alvarado was let go in a wave of layoffs earlier this year, leaving her without a job in San Diego, California. But even before then, Alvarado said she was struggling to afford the kind of lifestyle she thought should be within reach. The 9-to-5 grind had her feeling overworked and underpaid, with her racking up $10,000 in credit card debt. So, without a job, and unsure about her career prospects, she’s moved back in with her parents.

“I felt like I was just climbing the corporate ladder and trying to do what society says,” Alvarado said. “But now I'm heavily questioning working in corporate America because of the work-life balance.”

Saying No to College

Hernesto Angier thought skipping out on college was smart. He avoided student-loan debt when he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. But as inflation drives up the cost of everything — from rent, gas, utilities and food — the 23-year-old has been finding the wages at hourly jobs aren’t enough to make ends meet.

“My older brothers in their 30s were able to move out when they were my age,” Angier said. “But for my generation, it’s hard to move out because the cost of living is expensive in all aspects.”

After graduating high school in 2018, Angier started working odd jobs while he lived with his parents in his home state of Washington. Then the pandemic left him out of work and without money to live independently. So when his parents moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas, earlier this year, he followed. There, Angier said he’s applied everywhere from McDonald’s to Walmart. But so far he has yet to secure a job making more than $15 an hour. He's considered going to welding school — his parents would foot the bill — but he's not sure the cost would be worth it, since welders in his area only make about $20 an hour.

“There’s a common misconception that young people living at home are just lazy and could get a job,” he said. “But it really doesn't work like that anymore. It’s hard to get a good job in this market.”

Why Adults Say They Live With Mom and Dad

Majority of those surveyed ages 18 to 29 who live with their parents cite financial reasons

Setback by the Pandemic

The full extent of how the outbreak of Covid-19 disrupted Gen Z is still emerging.

The generation, which was 8 to 23 years old when the pandemic broke out, was at the prime of their school years. And for Grace Seymour — who was studying journalism and English at the University of Connecticut in 2020 and missed out on key internships and work opportunities — it’s been difficult to get her career off the ground.

Seymour said working in news seemed like a viable career path when she started college. But by her senior year, the employment opportunities she found were scarce and competitive.

“There were jobs available, but unless you had a connection or internship, there was no one willing to hire,” she said.

With more than $70,000 in student loans, the idea of taking a chance and moving to an expensive city without a secure, full-time job seemed daunting. So Seymour has since been playing catchup — she’s working two part-time jobs remotely from her childhood bedroom in Trumbull, Connecticut, while she attends grad school.

“Our generation hasn’t been set up for success,” Seymour said. “I’m so happy I’m not in this rat race of working, paying for food and housing and having nothing left.”

Staying Behind to Get Ahead

Growing up, watching her parents stress over money in the Bay Area, Lillian Zhang swore she’d never do the same. How? By splitting costs with her two roommates: mom and dad.

During college, pandemic lockdowns showed Zhang how much she could save by living with her parents. So, after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, and securing a lucrative tech job, she chose to move back home rather than “throw away” her paychecks on an apartment.

“I have my whole life to move into a nice apartment or house,” Zhang said. “I made a calculated decision to get ahead.”

Young adults who chose to continue living with their families

Lillian ZhangPhotographer: Michaela Vatcheva/Bloomberg

Now 23, she’s building her savings and maxing out her retirement accounts, while helping to pay for groceries, home repairs and the occasional family vacation. Of the 329 young adults Harris Poll surveyed who live with their parents, roughly 70% said they wouldn’t be where they are financially if they hadn’t. The same is true of Zhang, who — like more than a quarter of those surveyed — has been able to save more than $1,000 a month. She’s already accumulated a net worth of more than $100,000 on her own.

“It's sad because back in the day you could just have one job, support yourself and save money for a house,” Zhang, who also earns extra money as a content creator, said. “But I feel like it's really difficult to do that in this economy.”

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