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generation Y
Parents Pitching in for Rent: What It Means

We’re all familiar with the trope of millennial college graduates living with their parents because they can’t afford rent in America’s expensive cities. But as it turns out, a significant number of 20-somethings living independently are also getting support from mom and dad. The New York Times reports:

According to surveys that track young people through their first decade of adulthood, about 40 percent of 22-, 23- and 24-year-olds receive some financial assistance from their parents for living expenses. Among those who get help, the average amount is about $3,000 a year. […]

Financial dependence among 20-somethings has steadily grown in the past few decades. In the 1980s … fewer than half of this age group received any parental support. But by 2010 nearly 70 percent of them did.

It might be tempting for curmudgeons to chalk up millennials’ economic struggles to their own failures of character or work ethic. But the fact is that there are structural reasons why it is taking today’s generation of young Americans longer to find their feet: The economy is much more complicated and dynamic today than it was a generation ago; more people are entering careers that require high levels of experience and training; the impact of the Great Recession has hung over the job market for years.

Pundits and cultural commentators have made grand prognostications about how millennials will reshape American society, suggesting that they will shun marriage, that they herald an era of new urbanism (rather than moving to the suburbs like their parents did), and that they will move politics inexorably to the Left. All these predictions are based on the fact that today’s young people are in fact more likely to be urban, single, and liberal than previous generations.

But the NYT data about millennials’ extended period of financial dependence suggest that there may be a simpler account of what is happening: Millennials are simply are taking longer to grow up. As they mature, increase their earning power, and start to rely less on financial support from their parents, millennials could follow in the path of the Boomers, who at first seemed like cultural revolutionaries but gradually laid down roots and became more conservative and traditional. There are already indications that the concentration of young people in big urban areas is tapering off as 30-somethings move to the suburbs to start families.

There is something about being urban and financially dependent that makes people more progressive. It could be that millennial social attitudes are a product of these temporary demographic facts rather than any deep-seeded affinity for leftism. As the rising generation starts to fend for itself, it’s possible that social attitudes could change dramatically.

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  • johngbarker

    ” . . .it’s possible that social attitudes could change dramatically.”

    God I hope so!

  • Andrew Allison

    The Obama Presidency, the gift that keeps on taking.

  • FriendlyGoat

    And——just as it harder for young people to launch to financial independence today than it was 40 years ago (due in no small part to the fallout from Reaganism still in effect), we MAY find that 10 years from now it is a great deal harder for the young ones to launch than it is right now. There is certainly nothing about the government of 2017 which is going to help them and a quite a number policies on the burner which will probably hurt them.

    • Boritz

      As George Will points out, Woodrow Wilson “ruined the 20th century”. In what century were Millennials born? Yep.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You’re saying that people born in the 21st Century are headed upward in ways that those born in the 20th were not? If so, is this because of a planned policy return to the 19th? Or what, exactly? If the 20th Century was “ruined”, compared to what?

    • Angel Martin

      despite sixteen years of Clinton and Obama since 1988… yep, it’s actually all Reagan’s fault.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Not so much Reagan personally, but Reagan-ism. Thirty years from now, they’ll be talking about Trump-ism.

  • Boritz

    UC System students to Reagan: We are America’s future!
    Reagan: I’ll sell my bonds.

    Still good advice.

    • polopoint

      And Honorable Mentions. Some extra Very Honorable Mentions, as well. No one should go home prizeless.

  • PCB

    In addition, twenty-somethings are remaining on their parents health insurance for longer periods, so the actual annual parental contribution is likely considerably greater than $3K.

    “There is something about being urban and financially dependent that makes people more progressive” – it comes down to a variation of that age-old adage, “its easy to be (liberal progressive) when your spending someone else’s money”.

    “Millennials are simply are taking longer to grow up” – there seems to be a lot of evidence in support of this statement. I would suggest, in turn, this phenomenon merits serious public policy discussion about the prudence of maintaining “18” as the year of majority; and, for voting. As there no longer is a military draft, that argument is currently mute, in my opinion, as it relates to voting age.

  • QET

    An alternative explanation is that this relatively modest amount of parental support is precisely what is needed to close the gap between rising housing prices and wage growth. And the rise in housing prices is the effect of decades of progressive hypocrisy.

  • ——————————

    “Parents Pitching in for Rent: What It Means”

    It means that our evermore coddling of humanity through the artificial environment of technology and psychology is producing evermore emotionally challenged losers who can’t make it in life.
    F#*%ing suck it up, buttercup!

    Until we get back to our roots as the mammals we actually are, it will continue to get worse….

    • FriendlyGoat

      Expecting the cell phone, social media, video game, virtual reality, entertainment and music industries to close up shop soon?

      • ——————————

        Of course not. I was just stating a fact as to some the consequences of messing with Mother Nature.

        The only thing that will stop humanity’s insane race to it’s ‘perceived’ utopia is an asteroidal, viral, or volcanic event….

        • FriendlyGoat

          The reason I made the comment I made is that you recognized an “artificial environment of technology” as one of the forces which might be making young people into “emotionally-challenged losers”.

          We should fairly acknowledge that there is an element of the highly-celebrated business community involved in this. So many people think it’s just the feminists or the liberals or the grievance studies in schools or the government which might be captivating young people.
          It might (might) be that certain forces from the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq 100 or the Russell 2000 are having rather profound effects on what youngsters think and do. No? Show me a teenager’s pocket and I’ll show you an electronic device.

          • ——————————

            I agree with all, 100%.

            Feminists, liberals, and other social justice warriors are taking humanity in a dangerous direction that is against thousands of years of human evolution.
            The state of business today is funneling evermore money to the top. It’s hard to be a small business owner these days. Every place you go you see the same businesses and brands, and they are having more and more (negative) power in our lives.

            Humanity’s race to the top is out of control. We have raised living standards to dangerous levels, and it will never stop until Mother Nature stops it someday…the sooner the better.

            As far as I am concerned, aside from medical and environmental technology, there hasn’t been an improvement in living standards or culture since the 1950’s, at best, and since the 19th century at the least….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Why sentence everyone to geologic catastrophes such as asteroid events, viral events or volcanic events when all you need is the corrective discipline of a sturdy income tax?

          • ——————————

            Income tax nor any other of Man’s creations will save him from himself. Those are the kind of fantasies humanity lives in while failing to look at it’s own true nature.

            I am not sentencing anyone to anything…Mother Nature and God will do that….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Can’t recall seeing Mother Nature and (father) God in the same sentence as a pair. Just sayin’.

          • ——————————

            They are a pair…but one created, and has, final control over the other.
            I am quite sure we both agree which is the one with final control….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not. Mother Nature is not a Biblical term and I do not join you in wishing for the people of the earth to be destroyed by some disaster.

          • ——————————

            “Biblical term” doesn’t matter…the bible is just a book written by humans…and Mother Nature is also a term created by humans.

            Who was “wishing”? Where did I ever say I was wishing?
            I was just stating simple facts…as always. Not useless and complicated man-made solutions conjured up by those who wasted their time in colleges, and that will never change human nature….

          • polopoint

            Overly simplistic opinions do not equate simple facts.

            And cutesy convoluted back to square one ‘answers’ don’t equate to much either. Human nature blah blah blah, so much mean blah blah blah.

            You sound like you’re running a prep school debate team, sophomore year to be precise.

          • ——————————

            Occam’s razor….

            “Cutesy”?…that is a really creepy word. You are either a woman, or a very effeminate man.

          • polopoint

            Good grief.

          • Tom

            Because that rewards the people who need it the least–i.e., the power-hungry and ambitious who will use the extra money to buy votes.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Did you actually read the off-the-wall nonsense to which I was replying? Are you endorsing it just to argue with me?

          • Tom

            Embrace the power of understanding that disagreeing with you does not mean that I necessarily agree with your interlocuters.

    • polopoint

      “As mammals”? Is that supposed to be profound?

      • ——————————

        No, fact….

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