I can’t wait to graduate college, move out and start living on my own.
Sure, I live on my own now, but I still use my father’s physical address. I go home to his house during breaks and I live in a college house. I’m living on my own, but not really on my own. And my goal of leaving the nest soon after I graduate looks grim.
The Pew Research Center recently released a study that shows almost 37 percent of millennial women (ages 18–34) still live with their parents. It’s a trend that has been on a steady rise since 1980, and one that hasn’t been this high since the 1940s, when America was still shaking off the Great Depression.
Sorry, my fellow millennials. Looks like almost half of us will still be living with our parents for a long while.
The question is, why? The first cause that comes to mind is the astronomical cost of attendance for post-secondary education. Since 1984, the cost of attending even a public four-year university has more than doubled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
In 1984, if you worked a 50-hour work week while attending college, you could pay off your bill at the minimum wage in Connecticut of $3.37 per hour. In 2015, if you wanted to pay as you worked at the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, you’d have to work 54 hours per week.
Wait a second. That’s not very big a difference, is it, especially when you consider states like Connecticut and Massachusetts where the minimum wage is $10.10 and $11.00, respectively. Most of us, especially college-age students today, believe that we have it considerably worse than students a couple of decades ago in terms of finances and paying for school. Despite the huge price tag on a college education these days, that’s not necessarily the case.
So if paying for school isn’t a deciding factor for millennials living with their parents longer, what is? One answer could be the rate of high school students enrolling in college. Since 1984, that number has increased 35 percent. The rate of students enrolling in post-baccalaureate programs increased a whopping 77 percent. So students are going to school much longer than students in the past.
So, overall, students these days are living at home longer, but they’re also, on average, more educated. The question is, is it worth it?
By Lindsey Allen