When Michael Sheehan spoke at Saint Anselm College in 2016, he asked students to thank their parents for making their college education possible.
At his request, graduates of the New Hampshire school stood and cheered their parents. “That was beautiful,” said Sheehan, a top official of The Boston Globe newspaper. “Now maybe mom and dad won’t mind so much when you move back in with them.”
The college graduates and their parents laughed. But Sheehan’s words hold much truth. In the United States, lots of young adults are living at home with their parents, according to the Pew Research Center.
Pew researchers found that 32 percent of 18-to-34-year-old Americans lived at their parents’ home in 2014. That is the highest percentage nationwide since 1940.
More young adults lived at home with their parents than lived with a husband, wife, or partner in 2014, the center said. In that year, 31 percent were married or living with a partner -- half what it was in 1960, it said.
Hannah Raines plans to move back in with her parents after she completes her study program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The 21-year-old would like to get a job and save money for graduate school.
Raines’ parents, Jim and Juli, already have experience with an adult child returning home. Hannah’s twin brother, Dakota, returned home last year after the building where he lived was put up for sale.
“It was very natural,” Juli Raines said. She said having their adult children back at home is good for her and her husband.
“It wasn’t anything I had to think about,” Raines said. The only problem is figuring out where all four family members should park their cars, she noted.
Experts say younger Americans are experiencing different economic problems than earlier generations. Pay is not keeping up with housing costs or the bigger loans many graduating students must pay off after leaving school.
Pavel Marceux is an economic expert with Euromonitor International, a market research company. He said moving home for young adults may be a good decision. They can live at home with no or low rental payments, he said.
This will enable them to save money or pay down loans. It can also help aging parents deal with changing technology, Marceux said.
Not everyone who has returned home to live with one or both parents is struggling with their careers.
Damon Casarez is a photographer. He took pictures of his peers for The New York Times Magazine in 2014. But even with selling his photos to the New York Times and other successes, he needed to return home to save money.
Saving is necessary so he can repay $120,000 in loans that went toward his studies at the Art Center College of Design in California.
He said, “If I didn’t have that loan, I’d easily be able to live on my own somewhere comfortably.”
Casarez said he is happy about his education, even with the high cost. His father wanted to go to art school to study painting, but never got the chance. He said his mother also did not get to go to college.
Both parents wanted him to get a good education to move forward with his career goals, Casarez said.
Another young adult who recently moved back home is Giovanna Tolda of Northampton, Massachusetts. The 31-year-old is completing a master’s degree in special education.
Tolda said her parents were glad to have her back home. While Tolda is back at home, she said her parents are talking to her about ways to buy a house after graduation, instead of renting one.
Her own goals include a doctorate degree program in education, a job as a special education administrator and, yes, owning her own home.