The study, which looks at census data of college-aged graduates between the ages of 21 and 29, found that the percentage of college graduates who live with their parents in the year after graduation has actually increased from 19 percent in 2005 to 26 percent a mere decade or so (2016) later. The reason? Pure economics.
“As rents have outpaced incomes, living alone is no longer an option for many working-aged adults,”
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Home affordability has dropped substantially over the last 10 years, especially due to the housing boom and bust cycles that took place in the mid-2000s: When the housing bubble was at its height, it was much easier for college graduates to move out. But now, not only have prices increased significantly, there are also fewer homes for sale, and lending standards are more restrictive—which means college graduates have a much harder time finding a place to live.
More insight into this theory can also be based on the percentage of college graduates moving in with their parents when we look at each metropolitan area individually, as the increase is seen more obviously in areas where the boom and bust cycles were the most dramatic: For instance in Las Vegas, that number increased from 13 to 39 percent, whereas in Riverside, California, the percentage went up from 27 percent to 51 percent.
This isn’t because college graduates aren’t getting jobs: In fact, Zillow points out that the average college graduate earns about $36,000 per year, per the median salary data of 2016—higher than the average median salary of all adults in the United States, which is $34,000. It’s just that the current housing market doesn’t afford them the luxury of buying a home—which is why they bunk up with dear ol’ mom and dad.
But don’t think this is just a lazy millennial cliche.
“There’s really no financial reason why living with parents is a bad thing, as long as you are truly able to increase your savings (for example, expedite your debt payoff) by doing so,” Malani tells Domino. “However, If you’re just getting used to living a more expensive (aka, rent-free) lifestyle, it’s gonna suck when you have to start paying rent down the road. So, try to automate what you would be paying in rent (at the very least) and either save more aggressively or pay down your debt more aggressively so you ‘have something to show for it.’”
Another option? Save up, and then move to a place that wasn’t so badly affected by the housing bubble: Some of the
And honestly, living at home for the interim isn’t all that bad: Take it from Domino intern
As to why she chose to stay with her parents? “Saving money was definitely a huge part of why I decided to live at home and commute every day: I simply couldn’t afford to move to the city. But having the added bonus of reconnecting with my family after living a few hundred miles away for four years is so amazing. Yes, sometimes I definitely feel like I’m missing out—I see my friends in other big cities going out on weekends, meeting new people, traveling, trying exciting restaurants—but I’ve honestly enjoyed living at home so much more than I ever thought I would. I get to cook with my mom again and binge watch shows with my dad. I think I’ve really come to realize that there is no one way to go about post-grad life, and that you shouldn’t feel rushed to have your own apartment or move somewhere new, just because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing.”
And it turns out, everybody isn’t really doing it, either.
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