Type to search

Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out

Headlines Money Tribune News Service

Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out


By Gail MarksJarvis, Chicago Tribune (TNS)

The kids are back home and showing no inclination to move out on their own.

More than five years after the end of the Great Recession, 18- to 34-year-olds seem to be comfortable with a lifestyle that differs dramatically from the past. Even though the job market has improved, millions more are living with their parents now than during the depths of the recession.

A study of U.S. census data by the Pew Research Center shows 16.3 million millennials living at home, compared to 13.4 million before the housing bust set off one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. About 26 percent of young adults are living with their parents, according to Pew. In 2007, it was 22 percent. When the job market was at its worst, 24 percent of millennials were living with family.

That’s put some economy watchers on edge, because they expected a change by now.

During the dreary days of the recession, it made sense for young adults who needed a roof over their heads to stay home while job opportunities were slim. But they were expected to move out when they got jobs or better-paying jobs.

Of course, the job market still has a way to go to give young adults better financial footing. Yet unemployment is less of an issue now, with 7.7 percent of those 18 to 34 unemployed, compared to 12.4 percent five years ago. Pay has also improved, although it hasn’t popped back to pre-recession levels. Pew notes that the median weekly pay is $574 compared to $547 in 2012.

If the trend continues, there could be serious implications for the economy. Adult children curled up on their parents’ couches don’t need to buy their own furniture.

Pew economist Richard Fry found no uptick in the number of young adults establishing their households despite a 3 million spurt in the 18- to 34-year-old population since 2007.

“This may have important consequences for the nation’s housing market recovery,” he said. “The growing young adult population has not fueled demand for housing units and the furnishings, telecom and cable installations and other ancillary purchases that accompany newly formed households.”

Analysts wonder if there’s been a cultural shift that will continue to restrain the economy.

Previous research by Pew shows that millennials, unlike previous generations, aren’t in a hurry to get away from parents. But other research also suggests that financial reasons continue to draw young adults into their parents’ homes.

Rents have climbed sharply, rising 4.3 percent in major cities in June, while the average hourly wage has climbed just 2 percent. Because they went to college in 2008 as the recession trampled job opportunity, many young adults are laden with student loan debt.

A study by the New York Federal Reserve in June found that areas of the country with high youth unemployment, expensive housing, and high incomes tend to be where more young adults were living with parents.

Still, the majority of people 18 to 34 are living independently, although the tendency to be on their own has been shrinking.

During the first four months of 2015, 42.2 million 18- to 34-year-olds (67 percent of the group) were living independently compared to 71 percent prior to the recession. Women have been more likely to live independently, 72 percent compared to 63 percent of men.

Besides living with family members, millennials have also been doubling up with roommates who are not spouses or unmarried partners. Early this year, 47 percent were living with another person, most often a parent or adult relative. But 16 percent were living with a nonrelative, apparently sharing expenses rather than stoking the economy on their own.

Photo: Bill Benzon via Flickr



  1. johninPCFL August 3, 2015

    “comfortable with a lifestyle that differs dramatically from the past” should be drafted as “recent past”. In the earlier years of the country the agrarian families hacked out a large piece of property and several generations of that family lived on it together, often in the same large house. It wasn’t until after the Civil War and the western expansion that the “family” would divide and the children move out.

  2. missythemissmiss August 3, 2015

    People are going to continue to live in larger and larger groups as the economy worsens. We aren’t in a recovery, we are in a decline that has been masked by false statistics.

    1. JPHALL August 3, 2015

      missythemissmiss: Why so delusional?

      1. missythemissmiss August 4, 2015

        You might want to read more.

        1. JPHALL August 5, 2015

          I read plenty. Especially the Wall Street Journal. You should try reading the financial pages instead of opinion pages. Subject: Re: Comment on Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out

          1. Allan Richardson August 5, 2015

            Since Rupert Murdoch bought it, the WSJ, which used to lean conservative (of course) but at least reported TRUTHFUL news, has become the print version of Faux Nooz, but without the hot blonde women. The tabloids like the New York Post supply the soft porn pictures to go with the WSJ “fair and balanced” stories.

          2. JPHALL August 5, 2015

            While I agree with you about the WSJ’s opinion section, the financial news still is tops. The same with Forbes.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out

          3. missythemissmiss August 5, 2015

            Do the financial pages expose all of the corruption? Do you the financial pages report about all of our starving children and how the middle class is being robbed by the power elites? You might want to read a broader pool of news, including independent sources. Oh, and try to think outside the box and you might realize that we can improve on our current system of Capitalism.

          4. JPHALL August 5, 2015

            What are you going on about? The conversation was about the economy, read your original post.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out

          5. missythemissmiss August 5, 2015

            Well, now we know your level of knowledge on the topic. Read more from a variety of sources.

          6. JPHALL August 6, 2015

            Next time stick to the subject. Your opinion on the end of times is irrelevant to anyone with a brain. Subject: Re: Comment on Dear Millennials, You’re Ruining The Economy. Move Out

          7. missythemissmiss January 29, 2016

            It’s not the end of times, it’s time to educate ourselves on the facts.

    2. jak January 29, 2016

      Watching the nonsense replies, it is astounding how many people cannot see what is right in front of them.

      The enterprise class IT tools developed during the Gates revolution (1990’s) have now replaced a huge portion of the jobs. One person can now generate the data that would have taken a dozen twenty years ago.

      The overbearing healthcare regulation is keeping hours down in the service sector. People cannot even get the hours they want to work.

      There is significant age discrimination. Not just in recent years, but back in the late 1990’s I saw 50 something middle managers at their peak earning get tossed out after 20-30 years of service. Many of these people never make the same wages they were just forced out of. I also have friends, extremely intelligent, in their late 40’s, who are not even considered for jobs today. The number of young people available vs. the available jobs has a huge discrepancy.

      The housing bust happened due to decades of over building. If you talked to many architects in 2006 they saw this plain as the sun in the sky. We are STILL over built. Thus the building industry will not fully recover for a long time. How many people work in building?

      I see raving about anemic 2.6% yearly growth? A figure that is inclusive of more items than it did previously? Seriously? Note this is not real growth. We have not caught up to 2008 in many industries! It is year-over-year growth, the nonsensical method that corporations and leftists alike rate economies. As an example, look at the number of car sales that were lost and have not been made up. We still have a NET LOSS. But only if one believes in “mathematics.”

      The economy will never work correctly again when people pay huge interest on any dollar borrowed but get 0% interest savings. The fed has permanently poured molasses into the American economy. For the jerk commenting about Reagan’s voodoo economics, I remember working at the gas station as a teenager and getting about 6% interest on my savings account. I was able to get any job I applied for, they were plentiful. Yea, real horrible way to live.

      All major new production goes overseas, for example, developed here but made overseas, the iPhone, and even the drawing of our cartoons.

      Since there are more women educated today then men, the percent of adults working should be dramatically higher than in the 1970’s. Instead the percent of adults working full time is at 1978 levels! That swing is catastrophic any way you look at it.

      Anything can be proven with statistics, I will grant that. But the overall story is obvious: A major decline is in progress.

  3. smdxn August 3, 2015

    There are not enough apartments to rent and the ones that ARE available are too damned expensive: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2012/03/high_rents_america_s_ridiculous_shortage_of_apartment_buildings_is_pushing_rents_way_up_.html

    Instead of yelling at millennials to get off your lawn, lower the costs of college education (or elect politics who will wipe out our crushing student debt), and raise the federal minimum wage to $15.

  4. Michael Ross August 3, 2015

    “Dear millennials, what the hell are you doing?! Living responsibly? What kind of communist crap is that?! We need you to live beyond your means, to buy a ton of expensive frivolous crap that you can’t afford and spend your entire lives drowning in debt just like your parents did before you! Think of the poor billionaires! If you don’t buy their shoddy yet expensive crap, how do you expect them to be able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try and help the G.O.P. buy the next election?!”

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself for having written this Gail.

    No, the economy will never become what it was in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics. And whether you like it or not, that is absolutely a good thing.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.