You’ve seen all the headlines: “This huge percentage of Gen Z and Millennials are living with mom and dad, and they’re never moving out!” Reports of this trend gauge the number of young people living at home anywhere from “nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25,” to estimates of nearly half of all 18-29-year-olds. One “personal finance guru” says these gens living at home are “a trainwreck,” while others claim they’re using the money they save on rent to fuel the luxury goods industry. But what do Gen Z and Millennials themselves have to say about it—is it true that they’re living at home to spend as they please? YPulse data shows this isn’t the full story.
In YPulse’s Finance / Spending Monitor report, we ask 13-39-year-olds directly what best describes their current living situation from a list of 14 options, with four including living at home with their parents. Of those four options, we give them choices to specify if they’re in school, working, or not working, and our data proves that all those headlines about a huge wave of young people living at home (especially just to shop more) have it all wrong:
Less than two in 10 Millennials live at home with their parents
In total, only 17% of Millennials say they’re currently living at home with their parents. And of those, 10% say they’re working, and 3% say they’re completing their college education—meaning only 4% of all 22-39-year-olds are living at home with their parents and not working at the moment. The most popular answer to describe Millennials’ living situation is actually living with a significant other and working (24%) followed by living alone and working (18%).
But when we break it down even further, it’s really the youngest Millennials who are still at home, and not for just any reason:
For 18-24-year-olds who live at home, they’re students more often than not
The youngest Millennials (22-24-years-old) fall in the 18-24-year-old category with the oldest of Gen Z (18-21-years-old)—and are often the ones who are targeted by headlines. For this group, a total of 39% say they’re currently living at home with their parents. But roughly half of those Gen Z and early Millennials (20%) are in school as well, either at the tail end of high school or in college. So, when stories come out that Gen Z and Millennials are living at home with no end in sight, the reality is most are still completing their education, and circumstances could change after that.
For the rest of these young adults, only 16% of 18-24-year-olds tell YPulse they’re living at home and working, with an even slimmer 3% saying they’re living at home and not working. The idea that young professionals are staying at home in droves just doesn’t show here: our data shows just 16% of non-students (from both gens) say they’re living at home with their parents—with 12% working and 4% not.
They may be living at home to save, but not to spend recklessly
While Gen Z and Millennials may be living at home for longer than planned, or returning for a time, while inflation soars and the cost of living gets harder to manage, they’re not the financial “trainwrecks” some claim. In fact, our data shows 67% of young people have savings, with Millennials in the U.S. averaging $14K and Gen Z averaging $5K. And when we ask them their biggest financial priorities at this point in their lives, Millennials’ top response is paying their rent / monthly bills, while Gen Z’s top priority is saving for college.
And if that isn’t enough to indicate that young people are in fact responsible with their money, some sources claim Gen Z is supposedly saving money for their luxury purchasing habits by living at home, but we have the data to disprove that, too. YPulse’s Luxury report shows only 18% of Gen Z (18% of 13-17 and 18% of 18-24) say they’re buying more expensive things than they did last year. Because whether living at home or not, few of the younger gen are making room in their tight budgets for luxuries right now. In fact, when we asked Gen Z and Millennials if they’ve changed their spending in any way in the last year because of inflation, their responses name just about every way to cut down on spending.
So, yes, a good chunk of 18-24-year-olds are living at home right now—but with most being students, and others working, it’s clear that these gens are only making the most responsible financial decisions they can right now. And when you next see a headline about those darn Gen Z and Millennials refusing to move out of mom and dad’s house, remember there’s more to the story.