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Articles / Preparing for College / There's No Place Like Home

There's No Place Like Home

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | Aug. 6, 2013

How many parents out there have a son or daughter graduating from college next spring? How many of you have a son or daughter who graduated this past spring? I’d like to get your comments regarding your child’s post-graduation prospects.

I started a thread on the College Confidential discussion forum that focuses on a new survey: Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents. The study comes from the Pew Research. The punchline states: “In 2012, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation—were living in their parents’ home …” That’s a big number. In fact, as the Washington CBS News affiliate states, it’s “the highest number in four decades,” shattering a long-standing record.

Pew notes that “The steady rise in the share of young adults who live in their parents’ home appears to be driven by a combination of economic, educational and cultural factors. Among them …

Declining employment. In 2012, 63% of 18- to 31-year-olds had jobs, down from the 70% of their same-aged counterparts who had jobs in 2007. …

Rising college enrollment. In March 2012, 39% of 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in college, up from 35% in March 2007. …

Declining marriage. In 2012 just 25% of Millennials were married, down from the 30% of 18- to 31-year-olds who were married in 2007….”


You can read the details of the study and the associated Web news reports (pay particular attention to the comments that follow). To inspire your comments here on Admit This!, however, I’d like to excerpt some sample opinions from my College Confidential thread. Reading some of them may inspire you to report the scenario in your home. In other words, I’d like to know if you have (or plan to have) your college-graduate child living with you. Let’s take a look at what some CCers have to say about this and their home scenarios.

– I have two at my house now. One will be going back to school in the fall, and I hope the other will be employed.

– I plan to tell them that they need to pay the rent and food three months after graduation from college. You can give the money back to them when they are ready to move out. They need the pressure to earn a living. Go watch the movie “The Company Men”. It is not pretty and will happen again.

– They might have to fight the grandparents for those empty bedrooms. Many parents of older kids are now facing taking care of or at least providing a home for their aging parents who lack enough income to live independently. I know many around my age who have an older parent now living with them.

– No way is my kid ever moving back home unless something unforeseen happens …  If he doesn’t have a job before he graduates he has to pick a big city to move to and look for a job there. I don’t even care if all he can get straight off is a minimum wage job while he looks. We will happily subsidize his living expenses for as long as it takes.

– I opted to move into my own apartment when I graduated from law school after a short while living at home because it was just too crowded at home for my tastes. I was working full time at my career and got a great place, a few miles from my office. It was perfect for me. Many of my sibs lived with my folks until they married or turned about 35 or bought their own place. (Housing in Honolulu is outrageously expensive.). My sis lives with ther H, S and MIL in MIL’s house. Her BIL lives with his W and MIL in MIL’s house.

Folks make things work and sometimes there are side benefits, especially as seniors age and can live in their own homes with loved ones instead of moving somewhere they aren’t interested in moving to. It is a complicated issue.

– I see some McMansions with just one or two parents living in them. The dwellings are 4000 and more square feet. Why does anyone want to live in something that massive with just two people I can’t say. Even my folks have a 5 bedroom, 2 bath home that they rattle around in and fill with STUFF. They were happy when their kids lived with them.

When homes are huge and there are spare bedrooms, I see bunking in rather than setting up a separate home as an economical choice, especially as it allows a lot of mutual benefit. The young person could even buy dnd rent out a place if that is desired. That’s what H did, since his folks really wanted his help and wanted him around and he got tired of all the driving. He worked full time, paid all the bills (largely with his salary), helped maintain everything, and whatever else was needed. It worked well for all of them. He didn’t enjoy living in his 3-bedroom townhouse alone anyway and his folks needed his financial help.

– For two years back in tbe 90’s all three of the girls in my family were back at home. I had just graduated from college and was working a low paying job getting experience in my field before going to Grad school (I was paying rent and personal bills), my sister was attending a CC commuting from home, and my other sister who was older took a risk changing careers and came back home to cut expenses. We were all very independent. My parents loved it I must say. We did all of the laundry, cleaning, and were all together again after years apart. With my parents gone now, those years are fond memories. A little part of childhood recaptured but with adult responsibilities.

– We have good friends, whose son has graduated from college with a high paying job. The job happens to be in NYC where the parents live. My girlfriend insisted the son should live at home because they have a 3 bedroom apartment. They treat him like he was still in high school. When we invite them over for dinner, it is assumed the son is invited and he would be expected to attend. My friend would also expect my girls (even D1 who doesn’t live with us any more) to be present, which I think is bizarre. We’ve attended many mutual friends’ events, and their son is always there.

– I have a Mcmansion, thank goodness, with lots of bathrooms. I have two grandmoms and a young adult living with us along with the college kid in the summer and the high schooler. In this area, a lot of young adults living with parents. The rents are high. COL is high. If you want to save for something, do something extra, that’s it, since the rents are so high.

DH has a lot of young people working for him at what are great salaries anywhere else. They have to scrimp to even begin to enjoy a bit of living in the NYC area because so much can eat your costs. Have kids and that’s really an issue.

– I agree there are many reasons kids live at home and there is no one explanation that fits all those statistics. I do think for kids that are home due to their lack of income there has to be some kind of reasonable timetable for them to achieve their independence. It is unhealthy for both the parents and child for the situation to drag on indefinitely.

– I’m a 23-year-old recent college graduate. I have a full time job which pays well enough for me to comfortably live on my own.

I see no reason to move out of my parents’ house. I’m saving a lot of money on by living with my parents. I’m able to contribute more money to my 401(k) and IRA as well as save up money for a down payment on a home. It’s simply more practical to live at home rather than on my own right now.

– Well, the more incentive for them to be truly independent, the better.

– I agree, about helping and “pseudo” independence. A little help is okay, but whether the parents are wealthy or not so wealthy, I hear a lot about down payments on homes, 2 months rent for apartments, buying furniture (new and used) for kids place, paying for taxes because they can only buy food, etc. I have a coworker that pays quite a bit to help her daughter stay in a better area in a gritty city where she works….all is okay if it’s what you want to do but don’t say your child is fully independent, it’s just that they are out of the house. One doctor I know bragged about his son living “on his own” in Colorado to another father who’s son is living home and working….forgot to tell him it’s a family members place, big discount in rent, he sends him money, I hear the grumbles. I don’t think in this economy, we have to lie. 

I know one recent story, a woman felt pressured by friends and family to have her nice son move out, he was 25, “it was time”, he had a job, helped him buy a condo, a year later he got a job out of state, a very good job, but had to rent the condo (always had issues) and is trying to sell it now. Part of him regrets buying and giving in to something someone else thought was good for him. He signed (with her help of down payment) but if he didn’t have that, he would have rented.


That’s what some of the College Confidential crowd has to say. I can speak from my experience and state that I would not want my post-grad child living at home. Thankfully, both our son and daughter had good jobs at graduation, plus, they couldn’t wait to break free of Mom and Dad. That was just fine with me. The late nights, the moodiness, and the clash of lifestyles and generations makes for tension. Thus, I give thanks for their jobs that were waiting.

Those of you who are sharing your home with your post-grads: Tell us about how that’s working out for you. We would like to know.


Be sure to check out all my college-related articles at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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