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Reasons Young Adults Move Back Home

Updated on November 15, 2012

How To Move Back Home and Keep Your Self Respect

For some young adults, getting out of the house and away from the structure and oversight of parents is welcome. For others, leaving home can be rather challenging - even scary. However, most young people manage to get through this challenging transition with little or no problem at all.

Some young adults facing high unemployment rates, tougher education requirements or the ever- increasing cost of housing are considering moving back in with their parents. In our modern society, there has always been a stigma attached to this sort of move, especially among young adult men. It seems that just about everyone today considers moving back home to be a step backward. How many jokes are made at the expense of a young adult male still living at home with Mom and Dad?



Take a look back in history and you'll see that for thousands of years, young adults typically remained at home with Mom and Dad well into their twenties.

In the U.S., it wasn't until the prosperous post World War II period that young people - especially young men - could afford to strike out on their own. With all the government subsidies for housing and education, young men could get out and begin their own lives much sooner in those years.

Making it on your own and getting out of Mom and Dad's house became the new standard in 1950's America. Multi-generational households were previously the standard throughout most of the world prior to World War II. Today in many countries outside the U.S., multi-generational households are still the norm.


What You Need to Know Before You Move Back Home

No matter what your age, moving back home to live in your parents house is going to seem strange. This type of situation will almost always be stressful for all parties, especially if it has been awhile since you have moved away. Here are some things you will need before you make the move back home…

  • Define living arrangements before moving in
  • Ample storage
  • Stick to the rules
  • Maturity
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Define responsibilities
  • Willingness to help out
  • Privacy
  • Independence
  • Get a job and save money
  • Predetermined move-out date

Are Young People Today Unmotivated and Lazy?

As with most things, it's a bit more complicated than that. It is unfair to categorically assume that all young adults who stay in their parents home after turning 18 or those who move back in with their parents are simply lazy, lack motivation or directions in life.

Sure, there are some guys and gals who simply want to remain as teenagers, but not all of these young people are moochers. Things are certainly different for today's young adults than the day when I turned 18 back in the seventies.

The culture is very different now and the economic situation is quite different today. Some folks think that young adults who move back into Mom and Dad's basement are simply lazy, don't desire to work and just want to play video games all day. That's just not true in many cases.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that moving back in with the parents is always a good idea, but it can work out if all parties set out some ground rules and if there is no plan to stay indefinitely.

The key here is to get all parties involved and talking upfront, determine the basic boundaries, rules and future plans. Make sure everyone is on the same page, so to speak. If predetermined boundaries are respected by all involved, the arrangement can work out quite well.

While that may be the case of some, most young adults moving back in with their parents are doing so for other valid reasons.


The Top Reasons Young People Move Back Home

Increasingly Awful Employment Outllook. Currently, of all adults 18 to 24 years of age, only 54% are employed. For young adults, earning a real living wage has become increasingly difficult over the past 30 or 40 years. On top of that, the competition is tougher than ever because more people are looking for work.

Higher Cost of Higher Education. The cost of attending college and earning an undergraduate degree has sharply increased over the past few years. When I started to college back in the seventies, tuition for a state college was just a few hundred dollars per semester. A young person with just a part-time job could attend college and get a degree without going into debt.

Since the early eighties, college tuition rates have increased annually at 1.5 to 2 times the rate of inflation. Today, it's real easy to get about $100,000 in debt and even more if attending graduate school.


More Education Required Today. Let's face it, jobs that pay more require more training and education. That means if they want a job that can support them, young adults may have to go back to school and get some training.

When most parents of today's young adults were just starting out, maybe just a high school education was enough to get a good job. That's not true anymore. Today's jobs require a minimum undergraduate degree and some better jobs require an advanced degree of some type.

One of the most popular reasons young adults move back in with their parents is so they can go back to college or training school.

Higher Housing Costs. It ain't cheap to live independently - and the cost of living is not going down. 40 or 50 years ago, people were spending about one-third of their total income for housing - and that was a typical one bread-winner household income. Today, even with two people or more working, about one-fourth of all U.S. households spend more than half of their earnings on housing. for those young adults in their twenties, getting a house can be difficult if not impossible.


The Bottom Line

Think carefully before making a final decision to move back home. Weigh the options carefully, look at all the pros and cons, talk it over with everyone involved. If everyone starts out with the same expectations, then the whole experience is going to be less stressful for everyone. Good luck!


At what age should a child move out of the home?

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    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      novascotiamiss - what a lucid and well-thought-out comment. Thanks for the read, vote and compliment. I agree with you, many parents are afraid of "losing" their kids of they encourage them to become more independent. I have witnessed many people do this very thing and it typically leads to enabling the "child" to remain dependent.

    • novascotiamiss profile image


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      I'm one of these people who stayed at home until I was 22. It seemed natural as I enjoyed my parents company and they enjoyed mine. I wasn't lazy, unemployed or insecure. I didn't take advantage of my parents and paid them rent and contributed towards food. If they needed help I was there for them and of course I cleaned my own room. I borrowed my father's car and refueled it accordingly. The current trend of staying at home however seems to be heading into a totally different direction. Many young people decide to stay at Mama's Hotel as they get free meals and maid service as well as luxurious quarters free of charge. Dad pays for car maintenance, daily expenses, medical costs etc. Many parents are being taken for suckers fearing that they may lose their children's love otherwise. Your article clearly shows that things don't have to be that way and that parents can expect something back from their children. Voted up and useful!

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      As always, I can count on a helpful comment from you, billybuc - Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think this is going to increase due to the economy; my son has been back twice because of the economy. Good tips here!


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