Fifty-two percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, or 26.6 million adults, were living with a parent as of July—the highest number since the Great Depression in the 1930s, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. These young adults moved back home in situations they thought would be temporary, but they have since remained more than a year later.
“I originally thought I would only stay for a couple of weeks, but with COVID-19 still out of control, I just stayed,” Jess Cohen, 39, who is a public school teacher that leads a remote class, told the New York Post. “Thank goodness for virtual backgrounds on Zoom because teaching would be super embarrassing without them,” adds Cohen, who still has her childhood room frozen in time with a “Titanic” poster, a sign from her Sweet 16 party, stuffed animals, and glass knickknacks.
Moving back in with parents can be a “forced moratorium,” Donna San Antonio, associate professor of counseling and psychology at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., told The Washington Post earlier this year. “It’s an ideal opportunity to step back, assess the situation, and, maybe for the first time, ask, ‘What do I want to do?’ instead of chasing after what someone else told you to do.”
Young adults may do some soul-searching as they ponder their next move. Some housing experts recommend updating childhood bedrooms to get in the “adulting” mindset. “It’s you wanting to enter a new phase of your life,” Geraldine Anello, 24, founder of Handy Women, told the Post. “The first step to feeling like an adult is looking like an adult. This should start with your room.”
Also, some parents are requiring their adult children living at home to pay rent, which can impart a sense of self-esteem and chipping in, San Antonio says. If their finances prevent such an agreement, find other arrangements, like helping with home improvements or lawn care.
Young adults moving back home say it’s been an adjustment having to lay new ground rules with their parents, but some say they prefer such a living situation over the idea of living alone in a studio apartment during the pandemic. Even as vaccine rollouts continue, some young professionals may not be so eager to move out. Some young adults may desire to live close to home or even jump on the multigenerational home trend.
A main goal of young adults who have relocated since the pandemic began is to live closer to friends and family, according to a Bankrate.com survey. Further, about 16% of buyers since the pandemic have opted for a multigenerational home compared to 11% in 2019, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.