During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when schools and workplaces quickly pivoted to online platforms, many younger adults left the cities where they were living to return to their parents’ more spacious suburban homes. Some needed live-in help online schooling children while working from home, or caregiving for little ones when preschools and daycare centers closed. Now, with soaring inflation, high housing, food, and fuel costs, many Generation Z adults are permanently living with their parents or grandparents.
According to a recent New York Time report, nearly a third of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 live at home with their parents or their grandparents. A few years ago, this shift was expected to be a stopgap measure while researchers worked on an effective vaccine and life returned to a more normal rhythm. But now more than two years later, although the job market is strong, inflation and a tight housing market have made it more difficult to live independently as a young adult.
Many college students’ education was interrupted by the pandemic, with hands-on training delayed, stretching out the time needed to finish their coursework. Gen Z young adults who are working full time on average earn under $50,000 a year, making it difficult to afford high rents or a mortgage. Financial advisors recommend keeping housing costs to about 20 percent of one’s income, but with the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment exceeding $1,200, it can be difficult to afford housing without roommates or parental help.
According to a new Credit Karma study, 32 percent of Zoomers spend half their monthly income on rent or a mortgage, making it challenging for many to save any money.
Parents who would normally be thinking about retirement and downsizing are increasingly staying in larger homes to provide space for adult children (or grandchildren). Millennial children may contribute to household costs or make their own car payments, but they may also be saving to buy a home, pay off school debt, or are waiting for the housing market to normalize.
Multigenerational housing is becoming more common today than it was 50 years ago when housing costs were reasonable and student debt wasn’t eating up a new earner’s salary. More young adults are also living with a single parent or with a grandparent which may be mutually beneficial by the sharing of household expenses, housekeeping, garden work, cooking and other daily chores.