Rutgers students describe difficulty of moving out in current economy


livingathome
Photo by Michael Makmur |

Nearly half of millennials in New Jersey live with their parents, more than the third of all millennials who live with their parents in the United States.


Millennials are more likely to live in their parent’s home than in any other living arrangement, according to the Pew Research Center.

For the first time in more than 130 years, about a third of adults ages 18 to 34 are living with their parents than with a spouse or significant other, according to Pew.

In New Jersey, a 2015 census revealed that nearly 47 percent of 18 to 34 year olds are living at home, making New Jersey the state with the highest amount of millennials in the U.S living with their parents, according to NJ.com.

The Great Recession of 2008 plays an important factor in the trend, as this financial crash was the worst since the Depression in the 1930s, said Jennifer Hunt, a professor in the Department of Economics.

“It is a big disadvantage to be looking for one’s first job during a recession. Firms stop hiring and start laying off, so it is hard to find any new jobs, and if one finds one, it is likely to be at a lower wage than the job one might have got in a boom,” Hunt said.

In addition to finding a job that will support the costs of independent living, millennials are also not getting paid as much as young adults in the past.

Median compensation wages for a 30-year-old in 2014 was below that of a 30-year-old 10 years earlier, despite millennials being 50 percent more likely to finish college and work in an economy that is 70 percent more productive, according to American Progress.

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Dana Hirst said she wants to move out of her parent’s house after college, but is unsure if it will work out.

“After graduation the goal is to move into an apartment with some friends in (New York) or Hoboken,” Hirst said.

Due to plans to possibly pursue a masters in psychology after college, she is unsure if she will be able to follow through with her plans to move out, she said.

“I really don’t know how I would pay for living expenses unless I get a job right after graduation, and in a psychology field, that’s not really likely at this point. So realistically, I may end up living at home,” Hirst said.

Sharon Bzostek, a professor in the Department of Sociology, said another reason for the increase of millennials who live with their parents is that fewer young adults are living with romantic partners than in the past.

“In addition to the important role of economic factors, delays in marriage are also a central piece of this trend,” Bzostek said. “The most recent dramatic change is that fewer young adults are living with romantic partners.”

Young adults are marrying their partners later in life, according to ABC News.

Because more millennials are getting married and settling down later in life, they are more likely to live at home with their parents rather than with a significant other, causing the amount of young adults living at home to increase, Bzotek said.

In the past, the most common living arrangements among young adults has been with a spouse or romantic partner, according to Pew.

Gender plays a role in the living arrangements of young adults as well. Young men specifically are more likely to live with their parents, rather than romantic partners, Bzotek said.

“Both employment rates and real wages for young men have declined in recent decades, and are especially low for young men without college degrees,” Bzotek said.

These factors make it difficult for millennials to have enough financial resources to establish independent households, particularly for young men who have not completed college, she said.

In a 2014 census, 28 percent of men ages 18 to 34 were living with a spouse in their own home, while 35 percent of men were living in their parent’s home, according to Pew.

“Past trends are important to bear in mind,” Hunt said.

The rate of 18 to 34 year olds living with their parents declined greatly between 1999 and 2008, due to the greater availability of credit to buy houses, Hunt said. Then it increased during the 2008 recession, and has only fallen a little since 2012.

The future of the trend will depend on both economic and noneconomic factors. If the economy continues to grow, jobs and wages will increase, allowing more millennials to afford living expenses.

But delays in marriages are only partly related to economic factors, and may continue even as economic prospects improve, Bzotek said.

“Although it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen in the future, it is safe to say that we will continue to see a growing diversity in the types of living arrangements young adults experience,” Bzotek said.


Victoria Nazarov is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.


Victoria Nazarov

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