Leslie Brayton of Somerville, Mass., is delighted to have her only child, Maggie, 28, back at home. “My daughter has lived abroad and is going to Colombia soon for five months, so I am happy to have her down the hall,” she says. “We have a big house, so we’re not on top of one another.”
Maggie, who teaches English as a second language for a nonprofit school, “is a lovely person, and my husband, Greg, and I enjoy having her around, even if we don’t see her much,” Brayton says.
They don’t charge her rent, but expect her to help out with chores and their dog, and to take care of her own laundry, meals and car. They treat her like an adult, try not to nag and don’t offer unsolicited advice.
“We recognize that the only way to make this work is to let Maggie have her own life,” says Brayton.
There are 75.4 million Millennials — the generation born after the early 1980s through the early 21st century — in the United States, and nearly a third are still living with their parents. According to the Pew Research Center, for the first time in 130 years, young adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to be living at home with their parents than with a romantic partner.
That’s an unusual turn of events in the recent history of America, where we have championed the idea of kids becoming independent from parents, reports Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen students at Stanford University and author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.
Maybe so, but the trend isn’t surprising, given the high cost of living, the burdensome college debt and the difficulty of finding a well-paying job that offers solid advancement. Young people are also delaying marriage and may have different priorities. Some have more relaxed, companionable relationships with their parents than the previous generation had with theirs. And living with your parents may just be losing its stigma in America, Lythcott-Haims says.
“Living at home can be a smart way to get ahead,” says Richard A. Settersten Jr., director of the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and the author of Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It’s Good for…