Millennials living with their parents
March 3, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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The ungrateful millennial living in his or her parents’ home has become a common trope for many comedy shows and routines as more millennials have begun to move back in with their parents. However, instead of attributing this to a deeply entrenched sense of entitlement, we should consider significant socioeconomic factors that may be driving this trend.
Pew Research Center has pointed out that millennials without a bachelor’s degree comprise the majority of millennials at home with their parents (36% stayed at home).
Those with a degree were far more likely to live alone or with a partner (only 19% stayed at home), establishing a correlation between access to well-paying jobs and living independently.
Black and Hispanic youth held a record-high at 36% were likely to stay at home, slightly higher than white youth (36% vs 30%). Men were also more likely to stay at home than women (36% vs 29%).
There has been a sharp uptick in millennials staying at home around 2000, and a steady but slow increase before that, and many trends likely play a role here.
First, millennials are now less likely to consider marriage, and the median age of marriage has risen steadily as well. Pew projects that 1 in 4 millennials may never marry, meaning that fewer millennials feel a need to find their own place to live and start a family.
Second, employment numbers and wages have decreased significantly over time. In 1960, 84% of young men 18-to-34 years old were employed; that number has now fallen to 71%.
Many would be inclined to attribute this to a conceited desire for a better, disproportionately high-paying job, but even if millennials were fully employed, there is a concerning downward trend in wages too.
Since 1970, real wages for young men have steadily declined, and the Great Recession of 2008 further worsened the situation.
College enrollment skyrocketed post-Great Recession, meaning that millennials understood that they needed better skills and education to get better-paying jobs, but they’d have to stay with their parents as they worked for their degree.
Now, that being said, to some extent, there is a sense of entitlement at play, but it’s embedded into the cultural optimism inherent to American ideals. Everyone wants a good job that pays well, but some of those jobs are just too boring.
The “Talent Shortage Survey” conducted by the Manpower Group showed that 39% of employers had difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of skills — yes, the skills gap.
While the skills gap itself has come under much controversy and scrutiny, the survey shows that millennials could potentially fill the gap by acquiring necessary skills for themselves. Given that many millennials have now taken to college, they certainly want to acquire useful skills.
We shouldn’t necessarily encourage millennials to stay at home, but we should definitely understand that as social changes occur and economic factors are stacked against them, it is acceptable.