Hey there, 20-somethings! Are you reading this in sweatpants while your mom washes dishes downstairs? Don't be ashamed; you are far from alone. Mobility for young adults has reached a 50-year low, which means that more members of "Generation Wait" are putting off buying homes, delaying marriage and having kids, and shacking up with roommates for longer than ever before in modern history. Because you're only young once, right?
Less YOLO news: New census figures indicate that the dismal job outlook has stayed constant four years after the 2007-2009 recession. Unable to find jobs or stuck with thousands of dollars in student loans, many young people have resorted to depending on Mom and Dad once again. There was a slight increase in young-person mobility (a.k.a. when you leave your parents' place) last year, and researchers thought things were looking up for 25 to 29-year-olds. But just about 23 percent of the age group moved out of the nest from March 2012-March 2013. The peak, of 36 percent, occurred with those free-thinking hippies way back in 1965.
"Young adulthood has grown much more complex and protracted, with a huge number struggling to reach financial independence," said Mark Mather, an associate vice president at the private Population Reference Bureau. "Many will get there, but at much later ages than we've seen in the past. More and more we're seeing many young adults routinely wait until their 30s to leave the parental nest."
About 20 percent of young adults aged 25-34 are neither working nor enrolled in school. And if they continue to put off traditional growth, society may feel the ramifications. Is this the new normal? And in a generation's time, when now-20-somethings have their own 20-somethings, will the delay be even greater?
It's fine that so-called "boomerang kids" increasingly return to the nest because of student debt and the sluggish economy, says Ronni Berke over at CNN. But the real problem may be that many don't seem to mind at all — it's actually become the expected thing to do.
"Part of what makes this such a cushy scenario is that the millennials have a very close relationship with their parents; they like living with them, they look to them for advice," psychotherapist Robi Ludwig told Burke. "It's shocking to me to see how parents are enabling some of these young adults to live as permanent adolescents."
Still, many young adults truly do want to get out and start living their lives — and are just saving up at home to be able to do so. So to those of you who are fed up, just remember: Mom's food is really, really good. Like, wow, it is so good, is it magic? Also, you don't have to pay to do laundry. Also, there's free cable. Also, free hugs. It could be worse.
Image via Get@Err