“It’s The Economy, Stupid!” – The Real Reason So May Young People Are Living With Their Parents

“It’s The Economy, Stupid!” – The Real Reason So May Young People Are Living With Their Parents
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Young adults used to dream of moving out of their parents’ homes and into their own apartments, but living alone has become a luxury not everyone can afford.

According to a recent study by Intuit Credit Karma, 31% of Gen Zers are living with their parents because they can’t afford to rent or buy their own place. Overall, 11% of American adults still live at home with their parents.

“The current housing market has many Americans making adjustments to their living situations, including relocating to less-expensive cities and even moving back in with their families,” said Courtney Alev, a consumer financial advocate at Intuit Credit Karma.

Even young adults who live alone are reconsidering their living arrangements because costs are too high.

About a quarter (27%) of Gen Zers reported that they could no longer afford rent and 25% said they’ll have to move back in with family to make ends meet.

Millennials are in the same boat: 30% say rent is unaffordable, and 25% are thinking about moving back in with their parents.

The research is consistent with a 2021 study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed that one in three adults ages 18 to 34 live with their parents.

In a 2022 study, Pew Research also found that the percentage of Americans living with their parents has increased steadily since 2000. Pew calls these living arrangements “multigenerational households,” and said young adults ages 25 to 29 are most likely to cohabit with their parents.

Different studies, but all tell the same story: Finances are the top reason young adults are still living with family.

Housing and rental costs rise

It’s hardly surprising that young adults are struggling to make ends meet. Housing costs and living expenses have skyrocketed since the pandemic, and younger generations have faced the most financial hardship.

As Creditnews Research reports, Millennials and Gen Zers have been locked out of homeownership due to rising home prices, elevated interest rates, and stagnant real wages (adjusted for inflation).

For example, in 2023, Millennials accounted for only 28% of homebuyers despite being in their prime home-buying age. Gen Zers barely made a dent in the housing market, accounting for a paltry 4% of all buyers.

According to Fed data, average home prices were $431,000 as of the third quarter of 2023.

The rental market isn’t much better. Although rent costs have declined for three straight months, landlords are still asking for $1,964 per month on average, per Redfin data. Average rents were below $1,650 at the start of Covid.

But the problem of surging rents goes back much longer than that. According to a report from Moody’s Analytics, rent prices grew 135% between 1999 and 2022, while average incomes for all age groups were up 77% over the same period.

In terms of earning potential, younger generations are at the lower end of the totem pole, so they’re more likely to be affected by rising rent prices.

Where’s the “strong economy” everyone always talks about?

While the U.S. economy has steered clear of recession and unemployment remains near historic lows, Americans are still struggling to afford basic expenses. This is especially true for younger generations.

A 2023 study conducted by Deloitte found that more than half of Millennials and Gen Zers were living paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps shockingly, 37% of Millennials and 46% of Gen Z reported taking another part-time or full-time job just to afford their bills.

As it turns out, people working multiple jobs could be inflating the seemingly rosy job numbers.

Working longer hours and barely scraping by is one of the main reasons why younger adults feel they’re worse off financially than their parents were at their age.

An August 2023 study conducted by The Harris Poll found that 74% of Millennials and 65% of Gen Zers believe they are starting further behind financially than previous generations.

“They’re telling us they can’t buy into that American dream the way that their parents and grandparents thought about it—because it’s not attainable,” said The Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema.

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