It’s June – do you know where your Millennial is? You do if your daughter has moved back in after college graduation or your son has returned home to live after losing his first job. And that’s the situation for over 30% of 18- to 34-year-olds – more than those living with a romantic partner. Recently, the Pew Research Center released their newest report highlighting the situation for Boomerang Kids, particularly the large number of young men in this age group.
What has been driving this trend? Although some pundits often explain the numbers by highlighting parenting styles such as the helicopter mom, a generational stereotype of the entitled ‘kidult,’ or technological advances changing social mores, the Pew Research white paper draws on changing relationship and economic factors as significant contributors to the rise in Boomerang Kids.
Beginning in 1990, there has been a consistent drop in first marriage rates. One result has been that more unmarried Millennials are still living in the parental nest. And experts predict that potentially 25% of Millennials may never marry. The average age for marriage has now risen to over 27 for women and over 29 for men, keeping more of them back home.
Due to the skyrocketing costs of college tuition, student loan debt has risen to over 1.2 trillion dollars – an average of $30,000 for each Millennial with a bachelor’s degree. The need to focus on paying off this debt may limit their ability to qualify for a home loan – or even have enough extra cash to put down for a security deposit on an apartment.
The lack of good paying jobs is a major factor, especially for young men. Only about 7 in 10 men in this age group are employed – and the salaries of those that are have been spiraling down significantly for the past 10 years. For young men, age 18 to 34, their wages were highest around 1970 and as they began to decline, the numbers returning to live at home began to rise. Today, returning home has provided a kind of safety net during the Great Recession and its lackluster aftermath.
There may be a myriad of reasons that your Millennial has moved in with you again and consequently many specific steps you can initiate to help them, but here are some general tips:
Plan ahead to limit their debts from college tuition.
Communicate with them and cooperate as a family to address the issues.
Be supportive of your young adult’s efforts to get control of life as an adult.
Learn how other families have coped with this cultural shift.
You’ll find, in addition to inherent stresses involved, there can be positives for the whole family in this new living arrangement.