The economy may be picking back up, but college graduates are still moving back to mom and dad's house.
Many recent graduates are faced with crippling student loan debts and few satisfactory employment prospects, according to an article in the New York Times Magazine. Rather than add rent to their expenses, they choose to move back home to get their financial footing. As the number of young adults who return home grows, what was once seen as a temporary trend has turned into a cultural shift.
Twenty percent of Americans in their 20s and 30s live with their parents, the Times reports. According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2012, the young adults (18-34) who live with their parents are generally hopeful about their future and willing to support themselves. The reason they stay home isn't because they don't want to work; they have few other options.
"For all the talk of entitled millennials, recent grads are dealing with a giant, stinking trash heap of garbage economic trends," wrote Kelly Faircloth in Jezebel. "There's the fact that anybody graduating during a recession never makes up for the lost wages, sure, but the term 'entry level' has also become a joke. A college degree barely gets you in the door, because companies won't train new employees anymore."
The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey found that only 52 percent of recent graduates received training at their first job, although 80 percent expected training would happen. Forty-six percent of recent graduates also say they are "underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degrees."
A college degree is an expensive thing to get and then not use. According to collegedata.com, the average cost of a year of college at a private university was around $30,000 for the 2013-2014 school year, and a year at a state college would cost residents about $8,800, on average.
The Times article explains that while a bachelor's degree used to ensure some kind of profitable employment, now it "is merely the expensive price of admission." Some estimate that a third of recent graduates will never be able to find a stable job with an income sufficient to pay their debts, let alone live comfortably.
The Project on Student Debt found "seven in 10 college seniors (71 percent) who graduated last year (2012) had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower." From 2008 to 2012, the rate of student loan debt increase was 6 percent per year.
With heavy debts, few job prospects and rarely any opportunity to utilize a degree, moving back home is financially smart for many recent graduates. Some can use the money saved from rent and living expenses to start a business, such as Reese Briggs, a BYU graduate who started a marketing firm in his parents' house, as Whitney Evans reported in the Deseret News.3 comments on this story
"While Briggs admits he has had to make some lifestyle adjustments, he acknowledges living at home with his parents has allowed him opportunities he would not have had otherwise," Evans wrote.
Emily Hales is an intern on the national team, covering issues facing families in the United States. She is a communications major at Brigham Young University.