This finding shows that parents are more inclined to provide extra support to children whom they perceive as more positive and outgoing —Patrick Wightman, lead author
Young adults with a pleasing personality reap benefits when it comes to financial aid from the Bank of Mom and Dad, according to new research. Less cheerful or more needy children don't do as well.
The researchers from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the University of Texas found that more than 60 percent of young adults 19 to 22 get financial help from their parents. Including help with college tuition, rent and transportation, the average help is about $7,500 a year, the study said.
An article in USA Today noted that "children who parents said were cheerful, self-reliant and got along well with others before age 12 were more likely to receive financial gifts or loans as young adults." And if a family had more than one child, lead author Patrick Wightman told the newspaper that "if they perceive one of those kids to have a better attitude or to be more self-reliant, that kid has higher odds of receiving this type of support."
"Basically, this finding shows that parents are more inclined to provide extra support to children whom they perceive as more positive and outgoing," he said in a release about the study. "They're more likely to help those who, even at a young age, help themselves."
The study findings were being presented Thursday to the annual meeting of the Population Association of America. The authors said it's the first to look at nationally representative data to calculate parental assistance and to "analyze how help varies by family and individual characteristics."
To do that, they examined data from nearly 2,100 interviews between 2005 and 2009 with both the young adults and their families that was part of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Transition to Adulthood.
Roughly 42 percent of parents help their young adult children pay bills, 35 percent help with college tuition, 23 percent help with vehicle and transportation costs, 22 percent receive some rental-cost assistance and about 11 percent said their parents lent them money, while nearly 7 percent said their parents just gave them money outright.
Wightman noted that there was a "large difference between high- and low-income families both in terms of whether or not they provided financial help to young adult children and in terms of the amount they provided."
About 80 percent of high-income parents provided financial assistance, while fewer than half did among the low-income parents. "The gap is especially large for education-related assistance," he said. "While just 11 percent of low-income youth received tuition assistance from their parents, 66 percent of high-income youth did. And among those who did get help, kids from high-income families received an average of $12,877 compared to $5,788 for those from low-income families."
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