May 19, 2024

Are Children Who Move Back In With Their Parents Losers?

It has been widely reported that an increasingly large number of children are moving back in with their parents, some after completing four expensive years of college.  Pew Research conducted a recent study that examines the circumstances associated with the decision by many young people to move back in with their parents.

Home Again

Home Again

If there’s supposed to be a stigma attached to living with mom and dad through one’s late twenties or early thirties, today’s “boomerang generation” didn’t get that memo. Among the three-in-ten young adults ages 25 to 34 (29%) who’ve been in that situation during the rough economy of recent years, large majorities say they’re satisfied with their living arrangements (78%) and upbeat about their future finances (77%).

The sharing of family finances appears to have benefited some young adults as well as their parents; 48% of boomerang children report that they have paid rent to their parents and 89% say they have helped with household expenses. As for the effect on family dynamics, about quarter (25%) say the living arrangement has been bad for their relationship with their parents, while a quarter (24%) say it’s been good and nearly half (48%) say it hasn’t made a difference.

To be sure, most young adults who find themselves under the same roof with mom and dad aren’t exactly living the high life. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) of these 25- to 34-year-olds say they don’t currently have enough money to lead the kind of life they want, compared with 55% of their same-aged peers who aren’t living with their parents. Even so, large majorities of both groups (77% versus 90%) say they either have enough money now to lead the kind of life they want or expect they will in the future.

Courtesy Pew Social Trends

Courtesy Pew Social Trends

One reason young adults who are living with their parents may be relatively upbeat about their situation is that this has become such a widespread phenomenon. Among adults ages 25 to 34, 61% say they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over the past few years because of economic conditions. Furthermore, three-in-ten parents of adult children (29%) report that a child of theirs has moved back in with them in the past few years because of the economy.

Since the onset of the recession, the economic backdrop for young adults has been bleak. The unemployment rate for the youngest workers (those ages 18 to 24) soared from 2007 to 2010 and has only come down slightly over the past year. Adults in their late 20s and early 30s have fared somewhat better in the labor market, but they have felt the sting of tough economic times in other areas of their lives. Many have had to settle for jobs they didn’t really want just to make ends meet. Fully a third have gone back to school, and an equal share (34%) have postponed either marriage, parenthood or both.

The severe recession that has caused so much hardship for so many since 2007 continues and it seems to be causing the most financial misery for those who, in the past, had the brightest financial futures.  Attaining a college degree used to be a mark of distinction and accomplishment which opened the door to a career with a solid financial future.

Times have changed and most of those moving back in with their parents are making a financially responsible choice.   As the study notes, there are financial benefits when children move back in with their parents.  Expenses are reduced for both parties and the kids are able to save for their future.  When times are tough, you do what you have to.

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