Millennials Living With Ma & Pa
When I graduated from Rutgers almost 40 years ago, one of the first things I did was move into an apartment. I lived in my first apartment with my buddy Sey (Robert Shindler) who was also a recent college graduate. Our apartment was in Elizabeth, NJ on 527 North Avenue as I recall. I remember the total monthly rent for our 2-bedroom apartment was $240, which we split. Sey was (and still is) an accountant and I began attending graduate school at NYU, while substitute teaching in Newark.
My mom lived a few miles away in Springfield, NJ so it would have been possible to live with her, yet the concept of living in our home didn’t even hit my radar screen. Most of my contemporaries felt the same way. Living at home with one’s parent’s after graduation wasn’t cool in the 70s. It was time to start a life on my own. I would live modestly, commute to New York ($1.80 round trip) for classes with hot dogs in tin foil in my brief cases which I nuked at a NYU microwave, and worked 2-3 days a week in Newark as a sub their junior high schools, which was obviously not an easy way to make a buck, but it was money I really needed. It was good pay then at $37/day, twice the amount that substitute teachers at suburban schools received.
Today’s world is far different…in many ways. The idea of living with your parents, once a last option, is a first option for many Millennials, and it is not so uncool as it was in the 70s. In fact today, according to the Pew Research Center, a record 21.6 Million Young Adults live in their parents’ homes, that’s an increase of more than 3 Million from just 5 years ago, and the trend continues.
According to a new Pew study of U.S. Census data, 36% of young adults (aged 18-31, roughly the Millennial generation) live in their parents’ homes. Interestingly guys are more likely to live with their parents (40%) than women (32%) which was surprising to me, but more obvious to our 24-year old daughter who lives in our home. As she said, women know how to take of themselves better and can live outside their parents’ homes more easily. Knucklehead guys have less homemaking skills and therefore stay home.
Pew indicates that among the many reasons for this trend, 3 stand out:
1. Declining employment
2. Rising college enrollment
3. Declining marriage
All of these reasons are logical. An overarching reason might also be that the “schande” of living with one’ s parents has long gone. The financial bottom line is that the cost of living on your own is a tough ticket for young adults with modest salaries. If the rent for apartments were still $240/month for a 2-bedroom apartment, I suspect many of those Millennials would be long gone from ma and pa. Millennials do spend money however, and that will be a subject for a future Struming. Many just don’t spend as much for rent.
It’ll be interesting to watch this trend in future years.