More Gen-Zers are Living with Parents

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When Millennials’ unemployment rate spiked during the Great Recession, millions of them alleviated their financial problems by moving in with their parents.

Now the coronavirus is chasing Generation Z back home.

Gen z chartSome 2.6 million adults, ages 18 to 29, who had been living on their own moved back home between February and July, the Pew Research Center reports. This pushed up the share of young adults living with one or both parents to 52 percent, which exceeds the rate reached during the Great Depression.

Pew’s analysis included some Millennials. But members of the younger Generation Z account for the vast majority – more than 2 million – of the young adults who’ve returned to the financial security of their parents’ homes this year. [This count does not include college students who came home and attended classes remotely after their schools shut down last spring.]

As was the case for Millennials, what sent Gen-Z back home was a sharp rise in their unemployment rate, Pew said. For example, the rate for people in their early 20s has more than doubled this year to 14.1 percent.

No age group escapes the impact of a recession. The current downturn is the second in a decade for baby boomers, who have faced these major setbacks just as they are trying to square away their finances for retirement.

Losing a job and financial independence as a young adult also has long-term consequences.

While it’s true that Gen-Z has decades to repair any financial damage, they are vulnerable because they are trying to establish their careers. An interruption in their progress could affect their jobs and salary levels over the future course of their work lives.

White young adults, who are the least likely to live with their parents, saw the biggest increase in the share living at home due to the pandemic – from 42 percent in February to 49 percent today. But Pew said the increases were “across the board,” affecting men and women, Black, Latinx, and Asian, and urban and rural young adults.

The economy is slowly staging a recovery that, if it continues, will start to repair the damage. It’ll be a few years before we can measure the true impact of the COVID-19 recession on young adults.

Read more blog posts in our ongoing coverage of COVID-19.

Squared Away writer Kim Blanton invites you to follow us on Twitter @SquaredAwayBC. To stay current on our blog, please join our free email list. You’ll receive just one email each week – with links to the two new posts for that week – when you sign up here. This blog is supported by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

1 comment
Ken Wegner

There should be no shame or objection to Gen Z living with parents as long as they have ambition and can make wise decisions about their future. One of our sons lived in our basement while working and finishing his college degree. In addition to his thriving business he now has over $2,000,000 in real estate assets with $50,000/yr rental income. Again, ambition and wise choices are the keys to success.

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