As graduation season approaches, college students nervously sweat through their last semester of endless papers, exams, and 99 cent ramen packages. With the economy booming and unemployment at the low rate of 4.7, most have high hopes for post-graduation plans if they can just get through these next few months. Whether you’re an English major or an environmental studies grad, there’s probably a position hiring somewhere near you, and students are eager to get out into the workforce.
Realistically, students should have high hopes. Statistics show that only eight percent of college graduates fail to find a job relatively soon after graduating, and plenty of companies are looking to scoop up well-educated fresh grads.
This brings us to the big question: Why is it that so many of these soon-to-be grads, as well as college grads from the past few years, are moving back home? If jobs aren’t scarce and their skills are needed in society, then why are they resorting to using mom and dad’s basement as their new pad?
The answer? Well, there are a few explanations, and millennial laziness isn’t one of them.
Housing Prices Are at an All-Time High
This past December, the American housing market became worth more than ever before. Reports state that the housing stock reached a staggering high of $29.6 trillion. It’s shocking to see how far the country has come since the housing market crash over five years ago.
Now, new grads are finding it difficult to afford decent housing in many places. Cities, which offer more jobs to recently-graduated individuals, are more expensive than ever. Popular locations like Austin, Texas, are becoming more and more unfordable for the average working person, especially new workers who haven’t had time to save much. Housing is often the most expensive aspect of city-living, and therefore it’s an expense young people will try to skimp on if they can. Sometimes the idea of crashing at mom and dad’s house seems more appealing than shelling out more than $1000 a month for a 600 square foot apartment. In fact, more 18- to 34-year-olds are living with their parents now than in any other living arrangement.
Student Loans Are Sucking Incomes Dry
Combined, American graduates owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loans. If you do the math, that means that the average 2016 graduate had about $37,172 worth of loans. What’s even more unsettling is that these numbers have continued to grow over the past few years, and it looks like they will continue to do so.
The average student with college debt puts about $350 towards his or her payment every month. Depending on people’s salaries, this could set them back quite a bit and prevent them from wanting to enter into a relatively expensive lease. Many college students move back home for the first few years with thoughts of paying off a couple thousand before attempting to juggle rent and debt at the same time.
The Times Have Changed
Perhaps the biggest reason millennials aren’t rushing to move out is that it’s no longer considered the “norm” to do so. With 32% of millennials living with their parents, it no longer seems like such a big deal to fall back on mom and dad for a few years. Plus, millennials are getting married later than ever before, if they’re even getting married at all. In 1960, the average marriage age for women was 20, and for men it was 23. Now, the average age for a person’s first marriage is 27 for women, 29 for men. Surprisingly, an Urban Institute report has predicted that a large portion of millennials will still be unmarried at age 40. Therefore, people in their early twenties aren’t rushing to cohabitate with a spouse and they are more likely to consider living with their parents.
Whether it’s simply convenient or cost-effective, living with parents is an option many young people are turning to in today’s society. With social and economic changes looming on the horizon, this trend might become more popular than ever.
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