Why so many Gen Y men live with their parents

Millennial males seem less willing or able to cut the apron strings. Experts weigh in on what that means for the economy and their parents' finances.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2013 2:42PM
This post comes from Quentin Fottrell at partner site MarketWatch.

MarketWatch logoAs more adults decide to live with mom and dad, young men appear to be less willing to fly the nest than women, a new study finds. This, experts say, could be an early sign of larger economic problems.

Man with computer (© Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis)Millions of young Americans are living at home, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The number of “millennials” -- adults aged 18 to 31-- living at home rose to 36% last year.

That represented the highest percentage in the last four decades, and a significant increase from 32% just five years earlier. In 2012, 56% of adults aged 18 to 24 lived in their parental home, Pew found, as did 16% of adults aged 25 to 31.

However, millennial males (40%) were significantly more likely than millennial females (32%) to live with mom and dad.

There are some demographic reasons for the gender gap. On average, men tend to marry later than women, says Zhenchao Qian, chair of sociology at Ohio State University. “There are more single young men than women out there,” he says. “This gives unmarried men more time to live with their parents.”

Men marry at around 29 years of age, approximately two years older than the average for women, and both sexes are marrying around two years later in life than two decades ago, according to a 2012 survey by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research in Ohio.

Differences in parental expectations?
Perhaps a more controversial theory: Sons may also have an easier time at home. Even in 2013, parents expect their sons to do less housework than their daughters, Qian says. “Parents give their sons more freedom than their daughters,” says Kit Yarrow, chair of the psychology department at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Calif. and co-author of “Gen Y.”

For Americans aged 18 to 24, “it’s easier for a young man to live at home and still feel independent than it would be for a young woman,” she says. An even less flattering reason: “Women tend to mature, emotionally, faster than men.”

But there are more worrying factors in play than a taste for the comforts of home, says John Bonini, content marketing manager of Impact Branding & Design in Wallingford, Conn., who regularly carries out research on millennials.
Women have consistently outnumbered men when it comes to college enrollment, he says. “Since the economic downturn, with many state and local governments cutting spending, and manual labor jobs doing the same, it would make sense that those with college degrees would see a greater chance of gaining employment than those without one.”

Many young men, he says, are getting left behind.

Women's gains
Young women tend to outperform men in post-secondary education. Some 71.3% of female high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college versus 61.3% of males, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The former also appear to be better students. “Females tend to finish college faster than males,” according to the Pew report.

What’s more, men who had earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 had an unemployment rate of 16.1% in October 2011, compared with 11.2% among females, a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report found.

Regardless of sex, children living at home longer put a bigger financial burden on their parents and the economy. Hosting a son or daughter after 18 can cost $8,000 to $18,000 a year, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal.
And the fact that around 22.6 million young adults are still living at home also means there are fewer renters and potential buyers of first-time homes in the property market. Only 450,000 new households are being created annually versus 1.1 million before the recession, according to real estate marketplace Trulia; 18- to 34-year-olds make up half of that demand.

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178Comments
Aug 6, 2013 3:57PM
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If junior (pictured above) thinks he's responsible enough to get tattooed and get his face pierced, then he's responsible enough to move out of my house.
Aug 6, 2013 4:21PM
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The reason they are living at home is simple:

 

Look at the idiot in the picture with his face pierced.

 

If the person cannot take themselves seriously, how is an employer supposed to?

Aug 6, 2013 4:04PM
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Most Older American generations made life too easy for their children and eliminated the need to be responsible for their actions. Talk to any lecturer on the collage symposium circuit, most of the students are from foreign countries. The students and their families have risked everything to get them an education in America and if the student fails the repercussions for the student and the family are very severe. They are motivated to succeed. Why would an American student want to spend 12 yrs working hard barely scraping by, incur the debt, and miss 12 yrs of fun and to get a PHD when they are ready have everything they think they could ever want. Sitting on their parents couch, watching movies on their parents DVD Bluray player, their choice of Xbox, PS3, or WII on their parents big screen TV, surfing the Internet, keeping their face book page updated letting all their friends keep up with their wonderful daily lives and expressing their oh so important opinions. Driving their car, using their new I-phone provided by their parents to hang out with friends and party. It’s a great life style what else is needed. When the young adults begin having children and start trying to take on the responsibilities of having and providing for a family they are unable and untrained to so. The kids get in the way; grandparents will watch the kid(s) so they can go party and make more kids. A job that is a real life style killer, but that is taken care of by the nanny state. The government will pay to have the child, medically provide for the child, feed the family and child, and house the family. No job required to continue to live the life style their accustomed to and desire. There is no need or desire to succeed as an American you are entitled, it is expected, it is what you have been taught and shown by your family and government for your entire life.
Aug 6, 2013 3:44PM
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From the time your kids are very young teach them. Finance, work ethic, and responsibility for ones self. This is all you can do.

If they understand that they are responsible for their failures and successes things will more than likely work out for them.
Aug 6, 2013 4:51PM
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because we are training them to be wimps. starting in school, the police get called for a small fist fight, no dodgeball or other physical activities that someone could get any form of injury on. we train them to always check with teachers or others before doing anything, we tell them that everyone gets a trophy. Then when they hit the real world where they need to make decissions, stand up and fight for what is right, work hard and claw their way to the to, we watch them fall flat on their faces as they were unprepared and come back to mommy for help.  stop treating the males like girls and maybe they will grow up with a set
Aug 6, 2013 3:47PM
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Because laying around the house, playing video games, while mommy cater to their every whim is how they was raised their entire life before college.  Anything they wanted, all they had to do was open their hand and wait for mommy to put something in it.  Never got out and worked for anything.  Never had to worry about failure because in that fake, sheltered world, everybody got the GOLD STAR.

They are only doing what they are taught to do when the going get a little tough.  Run home and cry for mommy to do everything for them. 

Aug 6, 2013 5:24PM
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I was unfortunately acquainted with a mother & her grown son and they had a strange relationship.  Sigmund Freud could write a whole text book...  Anyway, the son was always shouting at her, insulting her, putting her down, calling her "idiot" and such.  She would always run up her credit cards buying him things, like toys that a grown up really doesn't need.   He would say, "You're stupid!  That's the wrong one!" And she would run back to buy "the right one!"  It was horrible to see this over 6 foot tall young man shouting at his mother.  I did not feel I could say anything, because I don't have kids, and I knew I would get this, "What do you know?  You don't have kids!"  If you have no kids, you don't dare comment on people's kids!  Anyway, she always acted like she was afraid of her son, but also she did everything she could to make him happy, trying to get him to love her.  It was almost sickening to watch.  I didn't want to be "friends" with this mother anymore.  She was so broke (probably from buying him frivolous stuff) that she began to treat me like a walking ATM machine and hit me up for cash.  Then she would take out her problems (with her grown kid) on me.  Every time her kid yelled at her, she would yell at me.  I got sick of it.  She does not realize, no matter how many video games and action figures she buys this grown kid, she is not helping him in any way. She is losing friends, falling into debt, and she is not helping her son become a decent young man. And somehow I know... she will never "get it."
Aug 6, 2013 4:32PM
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a bunch of leeches, we have raised a generation of leeches
Aug 6, 2013 4:51PM
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Is it really accurate to call financially dependent guys this age who still live with their parents "men?"

Boy or even man-child seems much more appropriate.

When I think of a man I don't really picture a disheveled slob who wakes up at noon and spends the rest of the day playing video games, asking mommy if she's finished his laundry and if he can have his allowance now.

Unless, of course, actual men want to be lumped in with these guys.  If you want to destroy the word men then be my guest.
Aug 6, 2013 4:42PM
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Once my son hits 18 and if he wants to stay at home he will have to contribute to household towards his share of food and utilities.There will be house rules about keeping the shared part of the house,clean,neat & tidy (pretty much what we have now) and to help out. I would encourage him to save as much of his money as he can in order to facilitate him setting up on his own. With rent being what it is these days and the low wages for most startup or filler jobs,to me, it makes sense to help out so he doesn't fall into a financial pit from the get go. At 18,he can get a credit card and I'd hate for him to get stuck in the trap,thinking he can set up on his own while trapping himself into debt that he can't pay.
Aug 6, 2013 7:37PM
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here's an idea you didn't explore - bad parenting. Parents are not teaching their kids how to be responsible adults. I must have read at least 5 articles just today (including the Jeopardy  story) about parents complaining that their kids aren't being treated fairly.
Aug 6, 2013 4:23PM
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I have a brother like this.  He doesn't work or go to school.  He's spent years doing nothing.  He doesn't have any friends either.  He's a complete shut in.  My parents tell him to leave every couple days but he refuses.  I've told them I think they should go to court to have him evicted but as of yet they haven't done that.

I predict that one day when he's in his 30s a neighborhood child will go missing and he or she will turn up in my brother's basement bedroom.  Either that or he'll probably kill both my parents.  I hope I'm wrong but these shut in guys have a lot of mental problems and nothing to lose.
Aug 6, 2013 5:46PM
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Just because an adult lives with his parents doesn't mean that he's lazy or a drain on them.

 

At 31, I live with mine and I help out temendously--my dad is 87 and has bad vision and bad mobility, and my sister is special needs (mental retardation and almost deaf). 

Without me, my mom wouldn't be able to care for my dad AND my sister.  Don't be so quick to judge!

Aug 6, 2013 7:14PM
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Our problem is college. Even of the percentage of males that get degrees, many of those degrees are absolutely worthless. I know. I have one. We should not be telling our kids to go to college at any cost which is what I was told in high school. "It doesn't matter what you go to college for. Just go to college." That's been the line for awhile and it used to work. Not any more. We shouldn't even have art related degrees, especially in our public schools. If there isn't industry enough to support a degree, ditch it. Otherwise you've just got a kid with a bunch of debt. Everyone should do everything they can to make sure high schoolers know that the job's the thing. Not the degree. If you can demonstrate to yourself that the degree will get you the job than great. Otherwise don't go to college.
Aug 6, 2013 4:39PM
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best way to get him out is start making him pay a bill then after couple months another  and another he will get the hint or he will be paying most of your bills !! win win
Aug 6, 2013 4:12PM
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I'd say....because they're losers?  I was out of the house at 18 & into the military.  Only ever been back to visit for a few days at a time.  And that was back in 1984.
Aug 6, 2013 6:42PM
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So it sounds like all the "daughters should do chores" mentality of parents means that women are now more able to care for themselves, move out, get a degree and a well paying job while the sons have to stay home begging mom to wash their tighty whities. Yeah that sounds like poetic justice.
Aug 7, 2013 9:32AM
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I can attest to the fact that none of the college students in my area work during the summer months. Their parents enable these middle class brats to sit on their dead butts with cell phones and a car available to them. God forbid the little darlings should wait on tables or get their hands dirty. It is the parents who have spoiled them into their state of complacency on the couch.
Aug 6, 2013 4:15PM
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because most of those guys were raised by mommy because they started deeming the father"foundation of the home" dead beat dads back in the 80"s.so the mother which is supposed to be the back up and support to the foundation has no clue on how to really raise kids right.no matter how much they try to brainwash the public that the mother knows best"complete bs without the foundation"....so the boys end up being lil mommas boys because she ends up kissing there butts because nothing else seems to work.because the foundation the father is the one that kids look up too.they took that away and propped up the single mother as the best thing going.when really it's not.so there ya go...
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