In what the Pew Research Center calls a “return to the past,” a new study found that a growing number of young women are now living at home. About 36 percent of millennial women reside with parents, a number almost equal to the peak in 1940 when statistics were first kept. Unlike the World War II generation, many are college educated and delaying marriage.
As the economy improves and the job market recovers, experts anticipated that boomerang millennials would move out of their old bedrooms and start living on their own. But that prediction has not become a reality: The country’s 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently today than they were in the depths of the Great Recession.
They’re back! With costly college diploma in hand, thousands of 20-somethings have returned to the nest. Some will be starting jobs, while others ponder their next move. No matter which category, odds are most parents will provide some financial support to their adult child for a year or two — or more. A recent Upromise Sallie Mae poll found that 65 percent of parents expect to support their children for up to five years after college graduation, including those with jobs.
A few days ago my husband and I dragged six heavy containers of holiday ornaments into storage. While I was happy to have that chore done once again, the house looked bare. It wasn’t only the decorations. The kids had gone back to their own homes and lives, leaving a few reminders behind: a half-empty bag of kale and some bottles of light beer in the fridge.
A month has passed since the dorm drop-off, maybe several if your high school grad had other plans, and quiet fills the empty nest. While some parents quickly adjust, others struggle, and for them there’s a cottage industry of books and blogs, even Pinterest pages. The phrase “empty nest” produces more than 3 million hits in Google search. This certainly isn’t our parents’ empty nest where boomers headed off and never looked back.
Last spring Cathy and Gary Chester put their ranch home in Morris County, N.J., on the market. Come August, the house is unsold and Cathy admits that she's enjoying another summer in the home that the couple built 21 years ago.
At a party last weekend, I met a new college grad who had just moved back home. His plans: a camp counselor job this summer followed by a teaching assistant job come fall. Over the next year or so he plans to save money and figure out his future; maybe an M.S. in social work or a Ph.D. in psychology. He was looking forward to reconnecting with his parents after four years away. "It's the last time I'll live at home with them," he said wistfully.
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