More 27-Year-Olds Live With Parents Than Roommates

What Women Really Think
Jan. 29 2014 3:44 PM

More 27-Year-Olds Live With Parents Than Roommates

Grown_children
Parents with adult children enjoy living together in stock photos.

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

A recently published study from the Department of Education casts new light on the State of the 27-Year-Old Today. The report, which in 2002 began following roughly 15,000 young men and women from their sophomore year in high school through their mid-20s, draws a picture of educated, debt-saddled young adults, more than half of whom are in some kind of committed relationship. It shows, incredibly, that around 10 percent of 27-year-olds feel they have already fulfilled their career goals. (Dear Lord—either these Americans have set scanty goals or that is a lot of leaning in.) But perhaps the most surprising factoid is this: There are more men and women at age 27 living with their parents than with roommates. 

According to the study's authors:

Overall percentages for all 2002 sophomores as of 2012 were as follows: 19 percent were living alone, 42 percent were living with a spouse or partner, 10 percent were living with roommate(s), 23 percent were living with their parents, and 6 percent had some other arrangement.
Advertisement

So, granted, the plurality of 27-year-olds have shacked up with a romantic partner—and, the report says, this pattern holds across all levels of educational attainment. But among all participants except bachelor’s degree holders, who were slightly more likely to be living alone than with mom and dad, the parental nest was a close second. And, again, everyone was more likely to live with their folks than with roommates. Pop quiz! Is this because:

  1. Roommates are at best one of the world’s great Russian roulette games, and at worst a plague upon humanity?
  2. Millennials are victims of a coddling culture of self-esteem, broken-winged, suffocated by the poisonous comforts of suspended adolescence?
  3. The Great Recession made it impossible for many 27-year-olds to afford rent?

I know which choice seems right to me. The study finds that almost 80 percent of 27-year-olds are in debt, whether from student loans, credit cards, or mortgages; since 2009, 40 percent have been unemployed; more than 85 percent describe their finances as either “somewhat stressful” or “extremely stressful”; and in 2010, as the Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann pointed out, they were more likely to be earning less than $15,000 from work than they were to be earning more than $40,000. (Weissmann has created some nifty charts based on the data.)

When I lived with my parents (lo those many years ago—two years), the arrangement was more than convenience—it was necessity. Getting a paying job helped. But I am already anticipating the “millennials are shiftless bums” spin on this data and preparing my personal, indignant defense: I have never received a participation trophy for a sport in my life, nor do I know many 26-year-olds who have. Though I am grateful that my parents were willing and able to let me live with them, my sojourn at home wasn't about my reluctance to leave the nest. It was about, on some level, having a place to sleep while I blundered through the job search. Or having a place to blunder while I slept through the job search. In any case, thanks, Mom and Dad.

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.